When starting my first course, should I rip it so that I can avoid notching out 2 pieces of Hardiplank to go above and below my window? In other words I would like to avoid notching as much as possible.
Some other ways of doing it would be to rase or lower the first piece so it comes out right.
And adjusting the amount of exposure your going to use can also sometimes work.
Adding a weather board made of vinyl lumber and Z moulding with a strip of vinyl lattis to kick it out above that would add an interesting detail and give you some adjustment to the first piece and help cover up the bottom of the sheathing. I do this all the time when I have to deal with the siding being to close to the grade.
Try and lay it out when cutting the siding so there's no seams directly below or above the window.