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How to Start a Successful Project

Happy New Year from all of us at PRINCE2! For many, the New Year marks a reinvigorated focus on short and long-term goals, and therefore, in the spirit of new beginnings, we wanted to provide a guide on the best way to start up a project.

Create the Business Case

Before starting a project, you must make sure there is a valid case for your project. Ask yourself, how will your project achieve company goals? Is your project about reducing costs, or enhancing service for your customers? If you cannot identify the intended result before the beginning, you are potentially wasting your company’s resources.

Create the Statement of Work

Once you have identified a business case for your project, you can then detail how your project intends to fulfil it, in the form of a Statement of Work. This should detail the scope of your project, success factors, and any associated risk. Having something for your team to refer to throughout the project will ensure transparency and cohesion.

Your Statement of Work can be a PowerPoint presentation, a Google Sheet or a Word document. Whatever form it may take, it should be created in collaboration with your team; inviting your team’s contribution will ensure their active engagement throughout your project. Once your team are fully informed about every aspect of your project, you can begin to assign specific roles and responsibilities.

Get to Know Your Team

Understanding your team’s skills and expertise is fundamental to effective management. Ask individual team members about their past performances. Frame your new project as an opportunity to get things right where they previously went wrong, and to build on past accomplishments.

Ask your team members what they want to achieve, making sure they know that this project is a chance for them to develop their potential. Show you care about their individual progression, and they will be invested in the project’s success. Allow each individual to get comfortable in their respective role, and they should be able to tell you what they need to get the job done.

Get the Right Tools

A 2015 survey stated that 38% of project failures can be attributed to inaccuracy regarding project requirements. Clearly defining project goals, roles and responsibilities will help you understand what tools are necessary.

Start by identifying what tools are required throughout your team. These include scheduling, planning and reporting tools, as well as budget tracking tools. You can then cater to the individual requirements of each team member. This needs to be accomplished as soon as possible. If your team does not have the right tools or software, any work they do could be a waste of time and resources.

Create a Project Initiation Document

All the steps you’ve taken to make a case for your project and co-ordinate your team culminate in a project initiation document. You may have realised certain goals in your statement of work aren’t feasible, given your project assets and scope. A project initiation document details what has changed and what has remained constant upon creating your statement of work.

Your project initiation document works as a baseline for your project. Referring to the project initiation document should help you understand the potential impact of any unforeseen circumstances, enabling you to redirect your project accordingly. You can find a sample project initiation document here, courtesy of the PRINCE2 Online Downloads centre.


We hope that we’ve provided information that can help you tackle projects in 2017 with confidence and zeal. Do you want to commit 2017 to developing your project management skills, take on further responsibility or climb the career ladder? If so, we’re sure our PRINCE2 courses can be of great assistance to you. Click here to learn about our range of professional certifications.