If you’re a project manager, chances are you already have a lot on your plate. And so organization and productivity should be among your top priorities, right?
This is especially true if you’re juggling multiple projects with totally different stakeholders.
To help streamline your tasks and put your must-do duties front-and-center, we put together this quick and easy checklist.
Sticking to a checklist not only helps you stay focused but also encourages you to:
Complete your projects on (or ahead of!) schedule
Stay within budget (and save your team both time and money)
Produce something you and your company will actually be proud of
Below is ourproject management checklist you can adapt to yourself:
1. Start with a clear goal statement
“So, what are we doing here and why?”
The ability to answer this question quickly and succinctly (ideally, in a sentence or two) can be a game-changer for your focus.
Much like having a company vision matters, sticking to a singular, specific goal empowers you and your team to not get lost in the minutiae of a project.
Maybe you’re trying to explore opportunities to save your company money. Perhaps you’re on the heels of a massive marketing push.
Either way, your goal statement should spell out the following:
Why your process is necessary (based on your due diligence and research)
What specific outcomes do you expect to see (think: “reduce overhead by 10%”)
How you’ll reach your desired goal (in general terms)
Your goal statement represents the vision for you and your team, making it foundational for any project management checklist.
2. Define your stakeholders
The sooner you sort out your project stakeholders, the better. Because your team’s time is precious and they’re just as busy as you are.
Highlighting roles within a project provides context to what any given person is contributing and helps them better plan their own schedules and tasks.
And when we talk about “stakeholders,” we’re referring to:
Colleagues that you’re ultimately reporting to
Anyone involved in overseeing or approving steps within the project
Third-party personnel involved with the project’s workload (think: contractors or freelancers)
Specifying roles means that your projects aren’t short-staffed or needlessly bloated. Knowing exactly who your contributors are isn’t just for the sake of the organization, either: defining roles is crucial for accountability and responsibility.
For example, using a project management software like Teamwork allows you to see the activity of all of your stakeholders in one place. Each comment, update, and contribution is tracked.
You can also define specific roles and permissions for collaborators directly within the app.
3. Determine your deliverables
In short, you need to decide what the “final product” is going to be when your project is complete.
Blog posts? Creative redesign? A report or analytics breakdown?
Basically, your deliverables represent the end result of your hard work and planning. Making a list of deliverables (and the appropriate formats for them) should be a straightforward process based on your goal statement.
4. Figure out the resources required to complete the project
Once you’ve ironed out your goals and desired deliverables, you need to brainstorm the resources necessary to make them a reality.
These non-monetary resources typically include:
People! (refer back to your stakeholders)
Tools and supplies (think: software)
Time-related assets (such as schedules or plans)
Your resources are going to directly influence your budget. Here you’re going to need to do your homework for the sake of justifying what you need to spend to produce the outcomes you’re looking for.
For example, what software alternatives are out there? Do you really need a plan or report from a third party before kicking off your project?
Assume that your resources are going to be put under the microscope by higher-ups (especially if you’re on a tight budget): be prepared to defend your resources accordingly.
Resource management software like Teamwork helps leaders monitor, identify, and make changes to allocated tasks as priorities or workloads change. Avoid the bottlenecks right away with powerful resource management solutions to get a complete view of everything your team is working on.
5. Map out your schedule and milestones
Schedules can be daunting, particularly if a new project is the first of its kind for you.
Regardless, your work should ideally be divided into small, manageable chunks.
Rather than risk rushing your project or cause it to drag on needlessly, create a project timeline that’s realistic. Doing so might require some trial-and-error. That said, setting milestones and major achievements along the way to achievement can really help.
With Teamwork, you can set up specific deadlines for tasks and subtasks alike. Visibility between your key stakeholders means that everyone is on the same page in terms of progress.
If nothing else, milestones allow opportunities to assess your timeline and progress to ensure it’s manageable for everyone involved.
6. Hash out your project budget (including direct and indirect costs)
Effective resource management is essential for making sure that your projects are actually successful. That means not only completing your project but keeping it within your desired budget.
When drafting your budget, don’t forget to factor in the following:
Direct costs (such as the resources noted above like equipment or supplies)
Indirect costs (such as insurance or advertising costs)
Billable time (especially as it pertains to personnel related to the project)
Having a detailed, thought-out budget is a must-do for getting the green light on your project. Estimate as best you can and also brainstorm costs that may arise after the fact.
7. Run a risk assessment to avoid roadblocks
No project ever goes 100% according to plan.
Through assessing project risk, you can get a head start on potential headaches and slowdowns before they have a chance to snowball.
Simply talking to other stakeholders about potential risks can be eye-opening. Think about “what-if” scenarios and potential problems that could arise if your project fails.
Having the chance to add potential risks into projects helps the rest of the team understand the hurdles of each task. Transparency into potential risks could help prevent some of the common pitfalls that delay or derail projects in the first place.
From PR disasters to money down the drain and beyond, there are varying degrees of risk to consider. Rather than let these risks paralyze your project, tackle them head-on in the planning phase.
8. Come up with a communication plan to keep your team in sync
We’ve seen firsthand how communication is central to getting projects done efficiently.
Collaboration goes hand in hand with project management and getting things done in a timely manner. Effective communication empowers your team to work faster without risking potential burnout.
Simply put, your communication plan should define the following:
How often you’ll meet and check-in with stakeholders
Preferred form(s) of communication (think: emails, live chats, face-to-face, video meetings, board updates)
Who oversees and manages meetings between stakeholders
The beauty of using a platform like Teamwork is that you can consolidate all of your project communication in one place. This includes your kanban board updates and live chat alike.
Rather than bounce between platforms, you can log your updates, milestones, and day-to-day interactions on the same platform. This ultimately eliminates endless email chains and notification spam.
Direct collaboration via file-sharing and chat means you have real-time access to shareholders who themselves are available. The ability to collaborate so seamlessly means that nobody is ever left hanging or waiting to figure out “What’s next?”
9. Decide how you’ll document everything
Documentation matters for accountability and sticking to your overall project plan. The ability to look back at your process step-by-step is also important for assessing how a project went after the fact.
For example, what if a higher-up wanted to know why a project took longer than expected? Or what if you wanted to credit someone for totally crushing their tasks?
Documentation should happen in real-time rather than something you’re constantly scrambling to do. This again speaks to the value of a platform like Teamwork.
Our platform tracks every interaction between your colleagues and makes them totally forward-facing via the kanban board view.
Additional features within Teamwork such as time-tracking and workload monitoring provide opportunities for individual stakeholders to document their tasks, too.
10. Assess the progress and success of your project
The final item on our project management checklist serves as a place for you to reflect on your efforts when everything’s said and done.
For example, did you finish your project on time? Were you over or under budget? Was everyone pleased with the finished product?
Assessing what went well (and what went wrong) allows you to reflect on your role as a project manager. Based on these questions and feedback from your team, you can replicate similar processes, workflows, and goal-setting techniques in the future.
Need a project management checklist? We’ve got you covered!
Putting together a project requires serious planning. And a checklist like this can help you focus on the details of your plan that matter most.
Sticking to these pointers will ensure that your project is a success from start to finish. Make sure to snag our project management checklist template today if you haven’t already.
Oh, and also make a point to try out the awesome collaboration features baked into Teamwork to empower your team during your next project.