Project Management 101: Step 1 - Initiation - How to Prepare for Planning

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In this article, you will learn to prepare for your planning stage in project management. To identify what your stakeholders want and whether you should do it all in one project. So lets talk about Project initiation.

How to better complete projects successfully?

It's an essential question because those who do earn more than the trust from their clients alone. In this article, you'll learn to prepare for your primary planning. Before you start planning will first need to know your project and the biggest mistakes are made even before you begin, so that's the whole point.

This article is about how to identify what your stakeholders want and whether you should do it all in one project. After that, you learn some basic but not so obvious planning principles. Our own decision in this stage can cause that you entirely lose control over your project later on. 

It would be best if you have enough people, and your people need to have enough time to get all the work done, and they need to collaborate and align their work. These are the two primary needs for project success, and these are the two strategies for surviving in projects. And you'll learn that primary planning is all about that. So let's get started. 


We start with the initiation states. Initiation state is about finding out the outline of your project. It's the why and the what of the project. Right, and that's not so difficult. Just talk with people and gather information. Your most important concern, however, is the availability of your stakeholders. The biggest risk in this stage is that your stakeholders are not available or dedicated to giving their input. Because of that, you might fix the wrong problem. Because of that, you might start a wrong project. The problem with your stakeholders is they don't have enough time for all their work. They might believe that planning activities are less urgent than the crisis in the end game of projects. But they are wrong. The biggest problems and the most significant failures are created in the project's initiation states. It is your job to fight for their availability and education to brief you and share their insights. You can do it. 

The Actual Process:

1. Let them do the talking

So what do you do when you meet your stakeholders?
When you meet them, let them do the talking, and these are the questions that you could ask them:

  • What is their situation?
  • What is their concern?
  • How is your project going to affect them?
  • What if your project isn't going through?
  • What do they want?
  • What is within the scope of your project, and what is outside the scope of your project?
  • What is the outline of the deliverables?
  • How do they see their role?
  • Do they have any recommendations?

Just ask these questions. Think about other questions yourself. Ask them those questions. Let them do the talking, and you get lots of valuable information. 

2. Divide Large Projects into Sub Projects

Once you better understand the project, you have to think about whether you must divide your project into smaller projects. 

  1. The reason to divide the project into smaller projects is that you don't have a good idea about how to do the project from start to finish. To illustrate the point, let's think about a project of an old friend of mine, Elon Musk. You might have heard about it. He wants to build a community or Mars for the people who decide to live and work on Mars for the rest of their lives.Well, quite an exciting project.

    At the beginning of such a project, is it possible to give a due date? Is it possible to build a network of all the tasks for the whole project, and have you any idea how long it will take? Probably not. If you don't, you have to break up your project into smaller projects, of which you do have a good idea. And of course, this also applies to more Earth-like projects.

  2. The other reason to break up your project into smaller projects is when you don't have control over the progress and the timing of the tasks. For example, when a client has to confirm certain stages or give approval, and the client takes their own time to confirm and you don't have any control over when they do it and when they will be ready, you must break up.In the project, you can think of many situations like this, then break it up into smaller projects you have control over.

The core principle behind this is everything that has been started must continuously progress. It means that your team must constantly work on the tasks of the critical path. Tasks that have been started must continuously be worked upon to get the task finished. If you know upfront that the project will be interrupted or it is likely that it comes to a halt, a piece of advice, don't start a project yet and wait till you know that it can be finished in one go or fix any obstacles before you start, or break up the project into smaller projects which you can control.

This is what I would like to share about the initiation stage approach for stakeholders and gather information about why and what of the project let them do the talking and divide projects in subprojects. If you have no idea how to do the project from start to finish or when you expect that the project is likely to be interrupted and will come to an halt. 

In this article, you learned to prepare for your planning. To identify what your stakeholders want and whether you should do it all in one project.