Do you carry out a primary survey before starting a project?

By Alison Smith

Last weekend I attended an essential first aid course run by St John’s Ambulance. Whilst it covered many life saving skills, as well as treating minor injuries, we initially spent some time discussing how you carry out a primary survey.

Just to explain a little more; the idea is that if you come across a casualty, before jumping straight in to help / treat them you need to assess the situation to see if it is safe and appropriate  for you to do so. This is the primary survey.

This got me thinking about projects. How many times do you find yourself hearing a good idea from a colleague, and suddenly find that the idea has a life of its own, and you are headlong into a major project? Perhaps you need to carry out a primary survey – or for projects write a business case?

The business case is a vital document that captures the reasoning for initiating the project. In essence it’s the justification for spending time and money on this project. The document is signed off by the project sponsor before the project definition stage can get under way.

If however you don’t have a legitimate business case, then quite simply you don’t have a project. I know that this is a stark statement, but this is true and will save time, money, and resources on starting projects that will ultimately fail to deliver.

Think about your projects and ask yourself if all have a business case in place, and if not what next? This is something that Project Agency hears a lot on courses, examples of projects that have either petered out part way through, or even worse carried on costing extra thousands of pounds.

I would suggest that if you find you don’t have a credible business case that has been signed off by the project sponsor, that you will need to stop the project and avoid wasting time, money and resources. This although necessary, is not a popular option. Perhaps reading our previous blog “Bring out your dead projects” will give you some answers to help you get a grip of projects that are going nowhere.

So my question to you is have you carried out your primary survey before diving headlong into your project?

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2 Responses to Do you carry out a primary survey before starting a project?

  1. Pingback: Do you carry out a primary survey before starting a project? | #PMChat

  2. Pingback: Popular Project Management Blog Posts From The Last 7 DaysProject News Today

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