The Ultimate Project Management Checklist for Your Team
Project managers juggle a lot of responsibilities. From negotiating with the stakeholders to dealing with vendors, they handle everything. They’re also responsible for directing the team and ensuring everything goes smoothly.
In project management, you rally your team behind the project mission, sign contracts, have kickoff meetings, and things go smoothly. For the most part, it’s just common sense except when you’re doing it. That’s when you wish you had a checklist of all the things you need to do.
You can rely on this checklist to ensure that you don’t miss any step or waste precious resources by repeating a task. You can also add your own items to this list, or better yet, create your own.
Checklists for project management must be concise and comprehensive. The details you include in your checklists also depend on the experience and capability of your team. A good project management checklist addresses this issue and emphasizes on the steps or processes your team has missed in the previous projects.
You should also keep an eye on internal evaluations and recognize organizational weaknesses to address them in your project checklists.
Here’s the ultimate 9 point project management checklist one should follow:
1. Come up with the vision
Anyone remotely associated with project management would agree that having a clear vision statement is of the utmost importance. While making the vision statement or a project charter, you must make sure that it ties the entire project together.
We have compiled a list of characteristics a project vision must have. Make sure to stop and ensure your vision addresses the following:
- How is the project ‘in-line’ with the beliefs and the mission of the organization?
- What is the project’s expected outcome?
- Who will be most impacted by this project?
- What are the tools, technologies, and other resources that will be used to complete this project?
2. Identify the stakeholders
By definition, anyone who is either impacted or can have an impact on the project is a stakeholder and its important for project managers to communicate with them and keep them in the loop. As a project manager, you are also a stakeholder.
Additionally, the customers, your team members, consultants, vendors, and management are some common stakeholders in a project. After identifying the stakeholders, you have to see how much influence and interest they have in the project and come up with an engagement strategy.
3. Identify the scope
Identification of the project scope is an important part of your project management checklist. The scope identifies the defined features and functions of your final product and you must take the input of every stakeholder before finalizing it.
It’s also important to make sure that your project scope is comprehensive and addresses everything. Multiple projects across different industries have failed due to the project deviating from the original plan. This phenomenon is called ‘scope creep’ and one of the ways you can avoid it is by having a clear and understandable project scope.
4. Work on a plan
After taking all the high-level decisions, your next task would be to start planning for the project. This is an extremely important stage of the project life cycle because the decisions you’ll take now will have an effect on the project until its completion.
In this stage, you will consider the specific steps you would take and plan on how to achieve the goals you have set for your project. Creating a schedule and making a timeline is also a part of this stage. Any basic project plan must deal with the three major components that are
- and other available resources.
For this article, we’ll treat them separately and look at them in more detail in the following sections.
5. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
This is not an integral part of any project management checklist and many teams operate without it. However, we recommend using WBS because it helps you simplify and visualize the project you have.
In the case of complex projects with interconnected tasks, visualization is important as it will help you understand the project completely and make effective decisions.
6. Work on the budget
Budgeting is one of the most important skills for any project manager. Most projects fail because of budgeting issues and that’s why it’s important to focus on this stage and make sure you have enough to cover the cost.
Mostly, stakeholders indicate the maximum budget they can allocate for the project and you must always try to keep your initial budget below that. Having a lower budget means that you have optimized processes and have some extra resources to spare in case things go south.
7. Identify and plan the available resources
Creating a resource plan is extremely important as you’ll rarely have access to unlimited resources for your project. You’ll have to identify the people, equipment, and project management software that are essential for the completion of your project.
You’ll have to ensure that each resource is distributed properly and your team members are not overwhelmed which may cause project burnout. Read more on how you can prevent project burnout and keep your performance consistent.
8. Set up a communication plan
Effective communication in project management is necessary for a successful project and it’s your responsibility to keep everyone on the same page. All stakeholders have different communication requirements according to their role and involvement in the project.
Your job will be to make a communication plan for each group and use visualization tools to maximize the information you want to convey. You can use a project management tool like Kissflow Project to coordinate work with your team and to communicate with shareholders.
9. Prepare a risk management strategy
As a project manager, it is important for you to make sure that your project remains unaffected from any associated risks. Risks are a natural part of any project and even if you are completely prepared, there is a chance that your project may get affected.
As a manager, your job is to make sure that the project remains operating as planned. Prioritizing and scheduling tasks in such a way that you have the option of accelerating some tasks in case of unforeseen delays is a great risk mitigation strategy.
Project management checklist to improve team performance
Whether you are new to project management or have a lot of experience, project management checklists are an important tool for you and your team. They have a lot of benefits and can be a guide for you in tough situations.
An excellent project management checklist will contain all the necessary elements of your project and will remain effective from planning to the completion stage of your project and allow you to maximize the performance of your team.