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"...before starting the project for real" or "...before actually starting the project" etc.
Explanation: The expression, "skarpt" is borrowed from the military and means live ammunition. It also means "sharp," as a spearpoint, cut glass, etc., , When applied to persons or ideas, it means "well-defined," "clever," "sharp," etc.
But here the author really seems to have borrowed from the military and simply means that a pilot test is the wisest option, before letting loose (scarce?) resources on a full blown project.
Ekeberga, Stenhamra, Sverige
Bonniers svenska ordbok I've been living here 17 years and simply understand the author's intent.