A Short Guide How to Start an IT Project

Why is difficult to start an IT project

I know many people who fall into a black whole, not knowing how to start new project or quickly losing motivation because of failures. There is information about project management, roles and life-cycle which is to comprehended and not very useful for small projects. In several posts I'll try to describe my experience with variety of projects: small and big (100 people team), short and long(more than 10 years), with different scope.
Of course it's not an easy tasks to do a simple recipe for something with so many constraints and variables. The idea here is to describe the process and explain all the steps and caveats.

In my imagination starting a project without this experience is like cooking a delicious meal without a recipe - knowing only ingredients. What is the chance of well cooked meal and nice diner? Not very big I guess.

Everything is changes so fast in IT world that yesterday new is old today, and new today could be old tomorrow. Knowledge is also increasing at a fast pace and you need to be able to comprehend it without burning out.

IT project the beginning

Here’s how to get started, in just a few easy steps.

  • Pick an idea. Pick a list of paper or an app with similar functions. Write down all your ideas, thoughts, notes. People who want to write their thoughts usually reinvent the wheel everyday . But trust me, one think is clear for me: all should start with writing and creating a "data bank". This data bank is your biggest investment in lift. So once when you wrote down your ideas pick one of them. Not all of them, just pick the one that you like most! Focus on it and start working with it. If new ideas arise after the start then just write them down and keep them for later.

    Example ideas:

    1. online event center
    2. facebook for animals
    3. a gaming blog
  • Research the topic. Just a quick research, searching for existing similar projects. You are not going to steal the project or ideas, but you’re going to find what are the cons and pros of it, is it a really difficult one, how much time will cost. If you want to invent a car you need first the wheel. So answer for you these questions:

What it will be the cost as money and time?
What is needed as knowledge and skills?
Do I really like it?
Can I completed by myself? Do I need someone else?

  • Share with a friend. Once when you are confident with your idea and know something about it you can share it with a friend. Ask them be honest and secretive. They should stop you if the idea is too crazy or stupid and keep it as a secret if is a big one. Write down their opinion and return back to it in the process of executing the project. You can ask again in different project stages.

  • Do a plan. Prepare a small plan with all steps and deadlines. It's very unlikely to make the perfect plan at the beginning. Even a skilled project managers do changes of the plan or in the project scope. So do one and change it when needed.

    Sample IT plan.

    1. Idea.
    2. Initiation.
    3. Functional part.
    4. Technical part.
    5. Execution.
    6. Monitoring
    7. Control.
    8. Production.
  • Create clear keys. Define a clear and measurable keys and check them regularly. Keys that will allow you to follow your progress and success. Be strict and consistent at this step otherwise you can do this project forever. Don't be afraid of failing at any step. If you see that things are not going OK or you lack of time. Just take your lessons learned and be sure that next time your estimation will be better.

  • Be consistent. Work every day, take a little step. Even 15 minutes a day will be enough if you are too busy. But don't lose speed and inertia. You can write simple notes, ideas, read articles how to do something, join a community. Don't do something in vain or you will risk your project.

Spend minimum 15 60 minutes everyday

Step by step, day by day and you’ll progress slow at the beginning. But once when the initial impulse is over you will get the inertia, the habits to continue. You’ll understand the project matter more and more, and eventually you’ll grow your general knowledge. Soon you will be able to apply all these knowledge not only in IT projects but also in every day life..

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