The start-up standards focus attention on this critical, and often challenging, phase of the project management cycle. When start-up is poorly planned or executed, it affects the entire project. CRS teams often wait too long to initiate project start-up planning and activities. As a result, many projects are “late out of the gate,” and have trouble completing activities per the schedule set out in the proposal.
The CRS project management standards encourage a new understanding of “start-up,” particularly for donor-funded projects. While the timing of start-up will differ depending on the funding opportunity and project context, the standards emphasize early, timely start-up—both for CRS and our partners—complementing the emphasis in the design phase standards on developing activity schedules with realistic timeframes for project start-up.
WHEN DOES START-UP START?
For projects where there is a very high win probability (i.e., non‑competitive, solicited proposals), start-up activities can begin shortly after proposal submission.
For competitive proposals, certain start‑up activities may begin prior to any formal notification from the donor, if CRS is confident of winning or if other considerations necessitate initiating pre-notification start-up planning.
For highly competitive proposals where CRS’ win probability is low, start-up activities might begin only after formal notification from the donor of an intent to fund (i.e., during the award negotiation).
KEY MEETINGS AND EVENTS DURING START-UP
Get an overview of key meetings and events during project start-up with this guide to Navigating the Project Start-up Journey.
Download the After-action review guidance for the CRS project cycle to reflect on achievement against the project management standards at the end of the start-up phase.
STANDARD 8: Timely and comprehensive project financial set-up.
Set up a project financial management system based on updated activity plans that supports a quick start-up and effective financial management throughout the project.
STANDARD 9: Proactive recruitment and onboarding for timely start-up.
Staff the project in time with the right people using recruitment and orientation best practices.
STANDARD 10: Laying the foundations for effective donor engagement and accountability.
Lay the foundations for successful donor engagement throughout the project.