Companies seeking to connect with our talent often ask us,  “Where do I start?” We start by gathering initial information about the project and zero in on the key questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • What exactly are we going to do?
  • When are we going to do it?

An Important Preliminary Question

Are we all in agreement that this is the most important project to scope now?

The 4 Essential Questions

These are the four vital questions to a successful project. They should be asked in order. See this article for more context.

  1. Why are we doing this? (There should be either a problem to solve or an opportunity to capture.)
  2. Who needs to be involved? (Identify the core team doing the work, a sponsor, and as many other stakeholders as are known at this stage.)
  3. What exactly are we going to do? (Describe the effort as detailed as possible at this early stage.)
  4. When are we going to do it? (identify any internal or external time constraints. Aim for early and incremental delivery of benefits.)

More Questions

The more of these we can get answered early on, the better:

  1. What are the goals of the project?
  2. Are there any prerequisites to this project? (e.g. data gathering, other projects or activities, external events, etc). If so, when are they likely to be complete?
  3. Are there any other projects/activities that depend on this project?
  4. Is there any previous work related to this project that we need to know about?
  5. Is there a hard deadline for final completion, or for any other part of the project?
  6. What do you see as the major risks to the project?
  7. Are you able to describe the set of requirements at this stage? (If so, try to get them grouped into “Must Have,” “Should Have” and “Nice to Have.”)
  8. What barrier, if removed, would allow us to make amazing progress?
  9. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that I should have asked you?

Whether you are planning to start a custom project or build your team extension, you should consider these questions from the very beginning.

One of the best examples of proper planning is our success with Sportscastr app. Proper planning allowed us to deliver great results on time. We focused on user feedback and created a product that users love.