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Before you can really get started on a project, you need to know a little bit about it. The trick is to collect just enough information about the project to make sure it's the right thing to do before you dive into planning. It's a balancing act. You want to start the project right because mistakes and omissions early on can become devastating later. But, you don't want to spend most of your allotted time on defining the project only to find that there's no time to do the work. You can get the info you need by asking a series of questions.
Who wants the project? That is, who is the project customer? Why does the customer want it? In other words, the overall goal and objectives for doing the project. What does the customer expect to get, known as Deliverables? How will you know you succeeded? What is and isn't part of the project, known as the project scope. Are there any constraints or limitations? What could go wrong? In other words, what risks do you need to think about? In this chapter, I'll share with you the key elements for defining a small project.
I'll provide tips for putting the right level of effort into these startup activities. I'll also talk about how you decide whether to proceed, and how to get buy-in from the people who matter.
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