Starting off your Project on the Front Foot

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Starting off your Project on the Front Foot

Posted by: Tom
Category: News

After agreeing and signing off on the commercials for a new project there is typically a lot of enthusiasm, excitement and eagerness to get them started. This is great and channelled in the right way can help you kick off your project with momentum and positivity. It is also important though that you take some time to work through some pre-kick off activities to ensure you start on the right track and that the eagerness to ‘get going’ doesn’t lead to you jumping in head first and unaligned!

Before the ‘formal’ project kick-off meeting, your opportunity to excite and communicate with a wider audience on all the changes & benefits your project will deliver to your business it is important to have worked through the following Salesforce checklist of pre-kick-off items!

Project Objectives

This may sound fairly obvious, but is often overlooked and also plays a key role in your change management plan. It is crucial that the key stakeholders on the project, as well as senior management have aligned on the vision for the change the project is aspiring to deliver and this is backed up with SMART objectives that have measures of success the project team can track against. Once you have identified these objectives the reason for the change becomes clearer, people know what you are aiming to achieve and your project kick-off can include these to set out the direction of the project!

Roles & Responsibilities Outlined

Again, a commonly overlooked preparation activity but one that will set you up for success. Before kicking off a project ensure that you have identified who will play the role as the internal project manager, the product owner(s), the executive stakeholders, subject matter experts, the testers and super-users. Once you have identified who these people are you can start to plan for the time they will need to dedicate to the project, this will differ from project to project and should be something that is discussed early on with the project manager from the consultancy supporting the project. Your kick off should clearly outline these roles, what they mean and who is assigned to each, this will allow your employees and eventual end users to know who to go to with any questions, feedback or concerns they may have.

Confirm & Align on Scope

What will the project cover and just as importantly not cover? Making sure the key project team members have all agreed on this will help you avoid any confusion as to what the project will and will not cover, both in regards to functional and non-functional requirements. This can start by simply reading, reviewing and familiarising yourselves with the proposal and/ or statement or work as these documents should clearly outline the scope. It is also important to speak with the pre-sales team that helped put the scope together through the sales cycle and the project team from the consultancy ahead of the kick off meeting to present clearly to the wider audience at the kick off meeting the scope of the project!

Communication Plan

When change is being introduced people will naturally and understandably have lots of questions. Ahead of your kick-off meeting you can instil a level of confidence and reassure your employees that communication will be frequent, relevant and useful by presenting the communications plan that will support the project. This plan should consider things like, who are the groups of people you need to communicate with, how best can you reach these groups, what frequency should you communicate with them, what level of information do they need (this is often dependent on how much the change will impact them) and how can these groups communicate back up to the project team to ensure the communication & feedback is two-ways.

Project Governance – How will the project run?

Some other things to consider aligning on, typically between the project managers, ahead of the formal project kick off include the following:

  • The methodology the project will follow, including the different phases the project will pass through and any agreed upon stage gates between these phases
  • Escalation paths – who to escalate to and when
  • How changes to scope will be handled
  • The tools and systems that will be used to help manage the project
  • The approach to managing risks & issues
  • How feedback and lessons learned will be approached and fed back to the project team so improvements can be made to the delivery of the project

We always welcome the immediate enthusiasm to ‘get going’ at the start of new projects with our customers, but also know that taking a bit of time to prepare and align with our customers’ project teams ahead of kicking off the project formally to a wider group of stakeholders is crucial to setting up projects on the right track!

Get in touch with Ignyto to discuss how a Salesforce Managed Service will be able to help your business get started with Salesforce.