A project is not simply “something you’re thinking of doing”. A project relates to company strategy and needs to be completed in the planned timescale and with all the expected results. At first it is the statement of a simple goal: the validation process consists in examining the relevance of the project, the financial case, its impact on the company and the resources required for successful completion.
Understanding the problem: this phase initiates the project and brings together all the stakeholders to ensure a common understanding. A phase of dialogue unites everyone implicated in the development of the project. This workgroup will be the same throughout the duration of the project, and will respect the project’s complete confidentiality.
*A phase of critical analysis: does the project really allow the company to progress? Does not the envisaged product already exist elsewhere? Are there any legal or statutory obstacles to the project’s application? This phase aims at appreciating the distance between the existing situation and the desired outcome, and the expected difficulties when progressing from the project’s initial state to its final state.
*The phase of investigation: it is necessary at this point to ensure the viability of the project; the envisaged market for the product, its competitors, its technological and economic environment, and then to proceed on to the financial analysis, to define the investments and the risks, the necessary training, the outside support from which the project and company can benefit. It is also necessary todefine the project’s boundaries in order to avoid heading in pointlessly complicated or expensive directions.
All possible obstacles must be envisaged at this point. Many projects (computing developments, command systems, etc.) require the distinction be made between functional analysis (tasks to be executed) and technical conception comparing all the possible ways of arriving at the final result. Combining all this ensures that the direction decided upon corresponds well to requirements.
When the project has been considered viable, it is necessary to determine the schedule; the intermediate stages, the points at which progress can be judged, in short, all the actions required at every stage in order to achieve the expected results in the foreseen timeframe. Close collaboration between the “actors” is indispensable at this juncture, so that each defined phase rests on realistic foundations. This stage undertakes an initiative nearing quality insurance, due to the implications of constantly having to optimize the conditions for working results and measure the criteria for the evolving practices of the company (new technologies, new procedures, and the required evolution in motivating personnel). This results in a “project dossier” which in a sense establishes the plan of action. This dossier is presented to everyone involved in the project and must receive their collective approval.