Natasha O'sullivan October 26, 2020 Project Management
Most team members often feel overwhelmed with the prospect of having to worry about timelines and tasks they need to accomplish over the duration of the work effort. Helping them to stay focused and organized is a key skill that a PM must bring to the table when running a project.
Managers plan, execute and monitor all components of a project. They usually need tools to assist them in completing and delivering the project efficiently. Companies rely on key tools in the project management process to ensure that each task is handled satisfactorily. Project management tools are a necessity in any organization. They help keep track of all the aspects of a project to ensure it is completed on time and within allocated budget. With proper management of a project, a desired outcome is produced in a timely and cost-effective manner. And a good project management tool, whether it is a desktop or web-based solution, helps to accomplish this objective. It will define the project`s tasks, costs, scope, schedules and team members.
Most larger organisations have well developed and run IT departments. They usually have formal project offices with established plan templates and standards, with project office staff and automated plan analysis systems (for example seeking orphan tasks / missing dependencies and so on to measure overall `plan quality`). Smaller organisations - for example, `IT solutions houses` - may lack this level of sophistication but will certainly use detailed project plans.
With simple projects, a tool such as a Gantt chart may make over complicate the project scheduling. Unless all team members are trained in the tool then the use of the tool may itself lead to poor communication and an unsatisfactory result. A simple project such as those identified above may only require a timetable and/or an action plan. All those in the project team should be communicated with as to their tasks content and timing. Timetables can then be negotiated and agreed, actions lists or diaries/calendars can be used for recording and planning purposes.
One of the features of checklists is that they can be designed to extend hierarchically, such that a sub-checklist could be developed to facilitate any or all of the checks above (e.g. a stakeholder analysis checklist or a risk management checklist). The PMI, training firms and PMOs would do well to promote checklists more strongly - project managers like to use checklists; not many want to read through an overweight methodology. And managers like checklists because they improve quality and instill consistency.
Among all the tools at our disposal for managing projects, checklists are perhaps the simplest and most productive means of building consistency in work practices. Checklists are useful in almost every field of human endeavor, and in particular where repeatability and systematic action drive performance. Yet they are still much under-used in the planning and managing of projects.
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