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.
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.
To start we will be clear that we are not going to deal here with repetitive implementation / rollout projects where a template plan has been refined over a series of projects and becomes a standard checklist for project management (for example for COTS - commercial off-the-shelf software). This article is about those one off (or initial template try-out) projects. These projects may be within organisations small, medium and large.
The next phase is the execution phase. Here the project must be monitored and managed. A schedule is derived which includes work breakdown, followed by allocation of tasks to people, allocation of resources and finally setting up deadlines for tasks. It is very important to have both a short-term goal and a long-term goal. While the long term goal is to get the product done, the short goals must be imposed by the project manager, who helps in guiding and motivating the members of the team working on the plan. Two important documents namely the issue log and the risk log which are both maintained by the project manager. The issue log keeps track of issues raised by the stakeholders and the risk log considers the vulnerabilities of a system.
The business requirements document should accurately, and in detail, describe the purpose of the project. It states what is needed to achieve that goal i.e. what is in-scope, what is out-of-scope, any assumptions that have been made, any constraints that have been imposed and expected timescales. The document will form the definitive description of the aims of the project and, as such, can be used to manage the expectations of the stakeholders. It will also include acceptance criteria that will ultimately be used to judge whether the project was a success.
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions. The actual model can be found on the Key Consulting website under free templates and info.