Questions To Ask Before Starting Any IT Project

The pieces of the puzzle finally fit together and you know exactly how to move forward. This is an exciting moment. It is also time to take a deep breathe and ask yourself a few questions before committing resources to your new technology project. Two questions to frame up the project:

  1. What problem does this solve? Be careful not to describe the solution, but to fully articulate the problem or opportunity.
  2. What does the solution look like? Describe the potential solution to the problem in as much detail as possible. It can also be a good idea to get together a small team of people who understand the problem (or better yet live with it everyday) and ask them what they think the solution looks like.

Once you get the answers to the questions above,  you have more four important questions that should be asked when evaluating any project:

  1. What are the high-level objectives of the project? It’s not uncommon for a project to morph into something very different from what was originally intended. Specifically identifying the goals of every project helps project teams, sponsors, and stakeholders stay on track.
  2. What are the estimated costs of the project — and the anticipated rewards? Without the answer to these questions, it becomes difficult to determine if the potential project will provide any business value, let alone the greatest value.
  3. Does the potential project align with the mission, vision, and values of the organization? Individual projects must represent the execution of strategic direction if the desired result is to maximize every dollar spent in the pursuit of the greatest ROI.
  4. What are the risks associated with pursuing the project under consideration? If potential project risks can be identified and evaluated while in the consideration process, actions can be taken to mitigate risk and increase the probability of success.

In a perfect world, every potential project that provided business value would be pursued. However, anyone doing project-based work understands that there is always more work to do than there is time or resources to do it. This is why establishing a method for evaluating every potential project is so important. Measuring and considering every potential project based on the questions listed above is the first step to effectively managing demand — and an important component of project success.


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