After the project mission and team members have been identified, one of the early steps in project management is to choose a target start date (TS). Commonly, pieces of the project may have been performed to gain understanding, gather data and test new processes. The actual TS is not when these initial steps begin but refers instead to the full implementation of the project even if it’s the first phase of a multi-staged project.
While it may be difficult to agree to a TS early in the process, a common business theory known as Parkinson’s Law has negatively impacted more than one project management experience. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted. Without a defined TS, projects may be delayed and the success jeopardized as team members are pulled in other directions, lose interest or other priorities surface.
The target start date is chosen with input from key team members in consideration of testing, materials, services and other integral factors. The project management leader has final authority on the selection of the Target Start Date. While the TS may be modified due to a variety of factors, steps should be taken to keep the project on schedule and adhere to the published TS.
This term is defined in the 3rd edition of the PMBOK but not in the 4th.