Checklists keep us reminding about things that needs to be done – before we can call something as completed. Similarly, Project Management checklists ensure that we are not missing anything while we are progressing during the project execution. Remember – if we miss anything – it will enforce us to repeat many steps again. This article provides you a consolidated list, which will be handy during any project execution.
If you have followed my other articles you would have seen that I have divided project management into 4 major contexts
- Understanding the Project
- Defining the Project
- Planning the Project
- Running the Project
Each context has its own set of checklist that we must be aware of.
Checklist for Understanding the Project
- Do you understand the Project Cost?
- Are the project justifications quantified?
- Does the client accept the project justification as one of his / her goals?
- Do you have clear understanding of Project background?
- Can you classify each of the participants in terms of their support or opposition to the project?
- Have you identified all the stakeholders?
- Have you understood communication needs with each of these stakeholders?
- Have you documented all your understanding about the Project, which includes, justification, background, stakeholders, other people involved, etc.
- Has the project been properly initiated
Checklist for Defining the Project
- Is there a written list of deliverable with exact description?
- Has the deliverable list been reviewed?
- Did the company or project manager agree for the deliverable (scope)?
- Do you understand the methodology that the client want to follow?
- Did you agree with the methodology?
- Do you have the clearly agreed review and approval process?
- Have you identified Single Point of Contact (SPoC) in client team?
- Do you have an agreement on formal Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
- Finally, do you understand client’s management style?
Many times client will have no preference regarding methodology. Even if it may be your own process and methodology, it is important to get into formal agreement with the customer and explain them about your company’s role and their role.
Another important aspect is the review and approval process. Many times as a company you will be able to complete a document / deliverable on time. You will even send for review as per the communication plan. However, client may not be able to get back to you in agreed time. You must make sure that these aspects are covered really well in SoW and any impact, including financial impact, is clearly mentioned.
Also, it is important to understand how the management works. Well, the arguments could be to keep doing right things and right things will happen. However, if you keep doing the right things by understanding the client management style then they will create favorable situation for you as compared to pushing you on the edge all the time.
Checklist for Project Planning
It is often said about the plan that it is better to have no plan than incomplete plan. Incomplete plan gives you false sense of security and it leads to failure. Hence, we must make sure that we always work with the best possible plan. Some of these questions will keep you on track:
- Have you defined / identified all the risks?
- Have you developed plan to mitigate risks; if any?
- Have you documented project assumptions?
- Have you documented known or potential constraints?
- Have you identified all the milestones?
- Have you listed all the project activities across all milestones?
- Do you have complete clarity on dependencies among activities?
- Do you have the correct estimate of all the activities / work to be performed?
- Have you created project schedule?
- Does schedule meet customer’s requirement?
- Do you have resources assigned to the activities in accordance with schedule?
- Do you have appropriate communication plan?
- Have you developed project budget?
- Do you have concrete implementation plan?
- Do you have plan for handover?
- Is your overall plan complete?
The purpose of last checklist item is to review your checklist again and think over the plan and ensure that you have got the best possible plan. Remember, it is better to have no plan rather than incomplete plan.
Now that you have complete understanding of project and you have got the best plan available with you, the focus needs to shift on Running the Project.
Checklist for Running the Project
- Are you building an effective team?
- Do you know where do you stand against the schedule, estimate and budget?
- Are you able to manage risks?
- Are you able to ensure that there is no schedule related issues?
- Are you able to manage change in scope effectively?
- Are you ensuring agreed quality level?
- Are you micromanaging when required?
- Are you giving enough opportunity to people to be creative?
- Are your resources delivering on their commitments?
- Do you understand the expectation of client?
- Are you able to manage expectation of client?
- Are you conducting regular team meeting?
- Is your team meeting effective?
- Do you report project status at agreed frequency?
- Are you able to reflect on overall progress?
- Do you and your team celebrate whenever you achieve any milestone?
Well, if you see – there are many soft skill required during the execution phase. Hence, this checklist will vary from person to person. However, all the items mentioned above are important to ensure that you are having better control on overall project execution.