High Performing Business – Project Initiation – Scope

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Project Initiation - BEFORE starting any project, a PMP learns how to clearly define the scope of the project so they know when the project is done.

Project Initiation – BEFORE starting any project, a PMP learns how to clearly define the scope of the project so they know when the project is done.

For me, projects that go on forever suck out my life force.   I’ve found the way to keep vital, vibrant, and enthusiastic about life is to succinctly define the scope of my projects and stick to it. That means I know what “finished” means, before I even start.   Early in my career as a research scientist I used to think I was being a control freak for demanding this with the projects I was assigned but my boss reframed it and said I was a “completion nut.”  The reality, though, by being a “completion nut” – I finish my projects and get the luxury of moving on to something new and exciting (i.e. more projects).

It is me who defines what “finished” is for the projects I initiate – not someone who is working on the project.  This is a very important distinction.   I had a relative who worked on construction projects with and for me.  He would routinely tell me the project was “finished” – yet the construction was no where near complete.  The painting would be half done, there would still be this pony wall to build, we had to wait on the installation of a critical vent, etc.  Defining what finished looks like is crucial to the successful completion of a project (and mandatory where contracts with others are involved).

I recently got this example put squarely in my face.  I hired a new cleaning service for one of our corporate retreat centers.   The old cleaning service was taking more and more short cuts and the place was just not looking as clean.  The first time this new service was in, they did a bang up job, well except for not emptying the garbage (how is that cleaning?).   The second time they were in, they started cleaning the guest quarters, but did not remake any of the beds.  Again, even after asking them to remove the garbage, still every garbage can but the one in the kitchen was still full.   So I decided to look at this trial of a new cleaning service as a project and to clearly outline the scope.  I created a cleaning checklist.  This was a huge “duh” to me  – of course this would ensure they would at least know the scope of the job.  I may give the second cleaning service another chance with this checklist (or not – I’m still thinking about it as I’m still fairly disgruntled about what they missed).  Regardless of who is in next,  at least I’ll be ready with the expectation of cleaning the corporate retreat center clearly defined.

For me,  defining the scope of my projects is the first step on the path to sanity and freedom.  I have left crumbs on this path so others can follow my lead on this   Visit www.cheetahsmartstart.com to get templates for kicking off your projects right from the get go (and maybe find your way to increased sanity and freedom too).

When you become a Project Management Professional (PMP), you earn a license to finish.  Can you imagine a world where you get to define what done means?  Yes so can we.  Download a free guide that shows you what it will take for you to become a Project Management Professional.

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