Saturday, 16 June 2012

Project management checklist

Starting your new project? Executing new strategy plan? Or just managing the implementation of a new feature? In all those cases you are going to need a project management checklist.

Purpose of the project management checklist

The purpose of the project management checklist is to ensure that the project manager and the team members are aware of every detail regarding the project and every specific micro-task. The project manager should be responsible to create, update and manage the checklist. The checklist should clearly answer the following questions:
- What is the roadmap to finish the project?
- Which task should be done before, after or along with each task?
- Who is responsible to develop and do the task?
- What is the due date and the estimated time for each task?
- What is the ultimate due date to deliver the project completely?

You could use project management software like Microsoft Project to help yourself with breaking the project into tasks. Also, a simple Excel spreadsheet could be used to create your checklist.

Good project management checklist

I am providing an example of a checklist I did for one of the projects I managed. Here are several points to pay attention when creating your checklist:
- Prepare the tasks in the traditional waterfall methodology. The tasks that should be implemented first should go on the top of the other tasks.
- There should be an estimated time for every task.
- There also should be a separate field for the due date of every task. This should be the final due date when the task must be completely finished/delivered.
- There should be a responsible person or team (team leader) to deliver the task. You could also put supporting persons there.
- You could use colors to mark any due dates in danger or any due dates that were not met.
- You could leave a note field for every task. This, in no way should keep you out of filling details about the project in your project/task list note field.
- You need to get into details and break the project on relatively small tasks – that’s the purpose of your checklist.
- You need to manage your checklist and even add new tasks when they appear. Also update the project management checklist every time something happens with a related task.

What should you avoid doing in your project management checklist 

- Avoid overcomplicating your project management checklist. Your checklist is there to help you manage the project, not to be additional bureaucratic burden to you.
- Having a responsible person or a team and also getting proper estimates and due dates is the core data in your checklist. Always ensure that those fields are filled in.
- Avoid using your checklist to store very detailed notes regarding particular task. You should be using project management list to store detailed notes about how a particular project is going. It is easier to read and keep track of the notes there.


  1. This is great information on a checklist. My company used to have a white board where we had our checklist. Far too often it was either erased or someone wrote something that was incorrect. We finally installed project manager software. It has made life so much easier. Everyone knows exactly what is due when and who is responsible.

  2. You have a good list, Simeon! Project managers should apply lean management, especially if they are handling start-up businesses. Overcomplicating the task list does not help execute the project effectively. They should cut the extra fats instead, and focus on vital processes to get the company and clients’ objectives done quickly and efficiently.