We’ve understood the reason/goal/purpose/business_need of the project. What’s the next step?
Most people say we should start collecting requirements. While it’s a good answer, there’s still something else we should do before that.
As an example, once there was a project done for a customer; a small company. The CEO said he was going to be the main contact point and decision maker for the project. He spent enough time with the supplier, and the project team coordinated everything with him. It went very well, and the team was happy, until they started delivering the product. The product was rejected because one of the directors who had an interest in the product didn’t agree with the specified requirements. The director was so powerful in the company that even the CEO couldn’t override his decision. This fact was learned too late.
Wouldn’t it be easier if they knew who else to talk to from the beginning?
A person like this director, who has an interest in the product and can influence the project, is called a stakeholder. We hate surprises such as this, and that’s why identifying the stakeholders is another early planning activity.
All right, now we know the purpose of the project, and we know the stakeholders. What’s next in our planning?
Hint: yes, it’s still not scheduling!