All of us, without exception, occasionally find ourselves managing small and medium and even large projects. Each project, large or small, requires a clear definition of goals and objectives and designation of a clear path to achieving them. The project must be planned and a “Project Compass” must be developed. The Project Compass defines the objectives of the project, its stakeholders and the inherent benefits for them, the project life cycle, the project’s outcomes and milestones, the resources required to execute the project, the risks that threaten during its execution, and more. So start your project on the right foot and fill out your project compass, step by step, until approval of the project and beyond…

The Project Name

Give your project a name, identify the customer, set the project priority and appoint a project manager

Project Description

Describe the project in general and explain why it should be done and what will happen if it is not carried out

Project Needs

Describe the need for the project, break it down into small needs and define a priority for execution for each need

Project Goals

Define big goals and break them down into smaller ones – well defined, attainable and measurable

Project Critical Success Factors

Identify the elements that are essential to the project’s success

Project Stakeholders

Identify all the stakeholders in the project

Benefits to the Project Stakeholders

Define and present tangible benefits to each stakeholder

Assumptions and Constraints

Identify the working assumptions and the constraints that affect the project

Project Lifecycle

Describe the entirety of the project from a bird’s eye view

Project Scope

Develop a ‘Work Breakdown Structure’ (WBS) of the project’s content, by breaking it down from top to bottom

Project Work Plan

Estimate the duration for the completion of each task in the project, define the connections between the tasks, and add some extra time at the end as a buffer against unforeseeable events

Project Resources

Identify the resources needed for the project including people, materials, equipment or places etc.

Roles and Responsibilities

Define the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the project – other than the project’s team member

Project Risks

Identify and estimate all the potential risks in the project and develop proper responses to deal with them

Project Formal Communication

Develop a formal communication plan and include in it all the formal communication channels of the project

Project Approval

Present the project to the client and other stakeholders to obtain their approval to execute the project in full, in part or perhaps not at all

Project Kickoff

Start the project, prepare the teams, the work environment and work procedures and get going


What's Next?

Start managing the project, control and communicate it on a regular basis