Project Discovery: The Fastest Way to Understand Your New Project
Project Discovery – The act of gathering key project information so you can gain a high-level understanding of your project quickly.
The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Your manager has selected you to lead a project.
You’re excited and nervous at the same time. This is a big step for you. Completing this project successfully
will get your career on the fast-track to success.
So you ask yourself, “How can I get my project off to a strong start?”
The answer is with Project Discovery.
Project Discovery is the act of gathering key project information so you can gain a high-level
understanding of your project.
The idea of Project Discovery comes from the legal profession.
During pre-trial procedures, the parties to a lawsuit exchange information with each other about the witnesses and
evidence they will present during the trial.
This is done with a well-defined legal process called Discovery.
Discovery provides lawyers with a process to learn about the key aspects of their case before the trial starts.
Similarly, Project Discovery provides you with a systematic approach to learn about the key aspects
of your project before it starts. In fact, you should start Project Discovery at the same time that your
manager assigns the project to you.
Understanding the key aspects of your project as quickly as possible is important for several reasons…
There are 6 Project Discovery Questions you need to focus on…
There are 2 steps in the Project Discovery process.
Step 1: Discuss these questions with the person assigning you the project, usually your manager.
You should do this at the same time that your manager is assigning you as the Project Manager. Ideally, they can
provide you with these answers at the same time that you are receiving your assignment. But don’t be surprised if they
can’t or if their answers are vague, because in many cases your manager may not have a clear picture of the project.
Any document related to the project
Examples of key Project Artifacts…
– Business Case
– Statements of Work
Step 2: Review the key project artifacts.
You can usually close any gaps in the answers provided by your manager by reviewing the key project artifacts. Ideally,
your manager can provide these artifacts to you, but you may have to get them from other people. You will build a good
understanding of your project and its context by reviewing these documents thoroughly.
Remember, you aren’t looking for final answers. You just need enough information to build a basic understanding of your
project and to know who the key players are. You will formally define the project during the Project Initiation phase.
Project Discovery provides you with a systematic approach for getting a high-level understanding of your project.
And by completing this quickly, you will show your manager that you are ready to lead your project.
Learn how the 6 Project Discovery Questions will help you make a great first impression from the moment your manager assigns you to lead your project.
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