Sarah Neudorf October 28, 2020 Project Management
One of the tools you can use to get things structured and organized is the "Project Checklist". This checklist is a roadmap to setup and put a framework around the project before it gets started. Each PM has their own style and set of tools, but if you are working on building your own toolbox, the project checklist is an important item to have when defining the project itself.
Most of us are beyond the point where we believe that successful project management can be accomplished by following a formula or merely using the right system. It is not that the tools are unimportant, or that the systems do not work, because they do. However, the systems and the software only make the job easier; they are not the elements of success.
Project Management is the planning and management of a range of tasks, particularly where there are complexities either within the tasks or within the teams working on the project, in order to achieve a deliverable at the end of the project. A deliverable can be many things; it may be a physical thing such as a new product, it may be an intangible thing such as a new process within an organisation or it may be a new software system. Whatever the end result of the project, it will involve some type of change within a business. The change could be a modification to the existing status quo or it could be introducing something completely new, so change management is also an element of project management.
Many of these products assume a knowledge of project management that many technical managers do not have. Without an understanding of the basic concepts of project management, managers may often find the software is confusing and hard to use. The first step in project management is to break the project down into measurable tasks and organize them into a hierarchy called the work breakdown structure (WBS). Different companies have different terms for the various levels in a work breakdown structure. Some levels include stages, steps, and tasks, or phases, activities, and tasks.
All projects have control points and required deadlines, where progress is monitored and measured. In the event that a deadline is missed then the overall impact on project completion time can be assessed, and if necessary new timetables drawn up, re-negotiated and agreed. Action Plans are lists of tasks/individual actions that are carried out to achieve a single and objective or outcome - in this case, the specific project. Action Plans focus on the achievement of a single goal, the action may then be translated in to a to-do list/diary cum calendar which cover many goals.
Can Project Managers prevent projects from slipping? Ask a techie to come up with a schedule for a specific list of activities, and more often than not, he/she will present a fairly accurate estimate. Some activities might be underestimated, others overestimated, but overall, the plan will be fairly accurate. However, something happens to these estimates between the time the techie writes them down and the time the Project Manager publishes a baseline project schedule. That "something" is why projects slip.