Failure to establish your project team and their responsibilities up front can be enormously costly. Imagine a new SME or Department Head or third party reviewer suddenly making an appearance two weeks from ‘go live’ demanding a bunch of changes … “I don’t like the look and feel of that bit’ … ‘Why haven’t you included that scenario that Bob started using in his classes last year’ … ‘Jo in marketing says we need to change the branding and include a bigger logo on slides X, Y and Z’ … Aaaaarrrghh.
Sure, some of these demands may be shot down easily, while others may take some discussion or need to at least be prototyped to some degree. More work. More stress.
Identify who needs to be involved and when
How about, as the project begins, making a list of all the people involved, their responsibilities and the intervals (or milestones) at which they are likely to be brought in. Examine the proposed workflow for likely bottlenecks and challenges, then list who needs to be involved. For example, you might have three SMEs collaborating with you for the first six weeks before handing over to a manager or director for initial sign off. Establish whether that manager or director should in fact be introduced after three weeks, then again after six.
Be sure to check for periods of annual leave too, as the right commitment on the wrong date can easily lead to losing a fortnight. Also check for maternity leave as well as other commitments that cannot be broken.
Eliminate kinks before they can occur
View the operation – workflow – as a chain from conception through to going live. You want to eliminate the chance of unnecessary kinks as much as possible. It’s also your choice, at this juncture, as to whether you cover anything beyond going live, e.g following up on evaluation, as the priority may well sit with build and delivery. That’s fine. Just be sure you get everyone lined up, their responsibilities itemised, and their commitment.
With this in place, the focus then switches to you picking up the baton.