How to define project goals – 10 questions one should answer

Whether it is about starting a new blog or building a new airport, before starting the project one has to get convinced about the business case and the viability of the project. Projects fail at the beginning, not at the end. Filtering out the best before investment is the key to avoid failures.

Before starting any new project seek answers to the following 10 questions ;

  1. What is the goal of the project?. Why are we doing it?. What is the problem or opportunity it is trying to address?.
  2. How much it is going to cost by way of money / effort?. This must include both the development cost and the maintenance cost (life cycle cost).
  3. What are the other alternatives to accomplish the same goal. Why are we not considering them? (Alternatives analysis).
  4. Has anyone done a similar project in the past?. Are there any learning from them?
  5. Have you done a cash flow analysis for the project?
  6. How much time is needed to get the initial investment out of the project? (Payback period)
  7. Who all are the key stakeholders of the project?. How are they going to benefit?. What are their roles and responsibilities towards the successfull completion of the project?
  8. What are the major risks?
  9. What are the major assumptions we are making?. Are they validated?
  10. What are the major milestones of the project and the tentative dates? (milestone list, road map)

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