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Start a Project

Sometimes getting started can be the most difficult part, whether it's putting a team together, deciding on what all should be in scope, or even finding someone to take ownership and sponsor the project. The first step is understanding whether or not the activity should actually be a project, and once determined, the correct path can be chosen for moving forward including:

  1. Determine if the effort it is a project or operations – ask some simple questions
  2. Submit a Project Request Form – gather project definition information and submit the request
  3. Determine Project Classification – determine the project management requirements for the project

Step 1: Determine if the effort is a project or operations

At the heart of the question is whether or not the activity is unique. In general, unique activities are not repeated and thus, not routine or operational in nature. The following table helps demonstrate the differences between projects and operations.

ProjectOperational Activity
Migrating from SQL Server to OracleInstalling a maintenance release patch on Oracle
Developing a mobile application for eTicketingFixing a browser compatibility issue on a specific webpage
Evaluate and select a new technology platformMonitoring batch jobs

After determining the effort is a project and that it does make sense to use project management practices for the activity, the initiation process can begin. Visit the Project Lifecycle Phases page for additional information on the four project lifecycle phases.

Step 2: Submit a project request

All projects are initiated through the IOT Project Request Form. Before completing the form, be sure you can answer the following questions:

  • Who is the project sponsor?
  • What business problem are you trying to solve?
  • What agencies are involved/affected?
  • Who needs to work on the project, and how much effort is it?
  • Is there an external vendor?
  • Do you know what software and hardware is needed?
  • Are there time constraints?

Step 3: Determine a project's classification

Once the IOT Project Request Form has been submitted, the next step is to assess the project's risk and complexity which determines its classification via the IOT Project Classification Assessment Tool. This step will be performed by the IOT Project Success Center.

Working under the model that the level of project management should be scaled to the size and complexity of the project, IOT has defined four specific complexity levels, each with its own project management requirements. This way, smaller, less complex projects require minimal or no formal project management while those large, complex projects require a more formalized project management structure.

The four levels are: Basic, Low, Medium, and High Complexity. The project complexity is calculated from a weighted subset of questions from the Project Classification Assessment Tool. The assessment includes questions about the project's cost, schedule, user involvement, past experience, commitment level of the team, etc. Each response carries a point value, and the total point value determines the project's complexity.

The project classification determines whether, and how, the PM Framework will be invoked. The results of the assessment also assist with identifying the activities and documentation necessary to assure successful completion of the project. You can learn more about Applying the PM Framework.

Organize. Execute. Deliver.