Projects don’t just run themselves. Well, they do, but only if they have a capable project manager who has done all the legwork and set up the process to make sure everything is a well-oiled machine.
If you are a project manager or someone who has seen gaps in their projects and want a leg-up on how to correctly set up, organize and implement a successful project, follow this project management checklist to make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s.
What is project management?
Project management is the process of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. Project management follows a particular set of tasks to ensure that all projects run smoothly and successfully.
When planning a project, you should make sure that you follow the below process:
- Identify tools
- Monitoring and closing
If each of these steps is followed in subsequent order, you can ensure that your project is set up right from the beginning until the close.
1. Identify your tools
A good project manager needs a range of tools at their disposal, including a solid understanding of statistics (to help with risk assessment), scheduling software (to help with planning and execution), and their overall resources available to get the job done. These resources could be anything from employees to physical equipment or even time. Once the right tools are identified, or at least a pool of tools to pull from is available, the project management process can begin.
The first step is to initiate the project. In the previous step, you should already have the tools available to perform the task, so this task is all about initiation and planning. The specific checklist items involved within this stage include:
Identify the Scope: The first and most crucial step is to identify the project’s scope. What are you trying to achieve? What are the goals? This should be documented in a charter or project initiation document, which will guide everyone working on the project.
Identify the stakeholders: who is going to be involved with this project? Are they internal or external stakeholders, and what is their role? Once you know who the stakeholders are, you can build a communication plan.
Risk assessment: all projects have risks associated with them. You should identify and assess these risks as early as possible to develop a plan to mitigate them.
The next step is to plan the project. This involves developing a detailed project plan, including timelines, resources requirements, and budget. There is more than one step involved in planning, and these specific planning checklists include:
Create a Project Plan: Once the scope is identified, you need to start creating a project plan. This document should outline everything from the project’s goals to how you will achieve them, who is responsible for what, and when it needs to be completed. A detailed project plan is essential for a successful project.
Set up a budget: All projects have a budget, whether small or large. You need to identify the budget and how you will be spending it. This includes the cost of the project and man-hours and other resources required to complete the project.
Schedule Resources: Once you have a plan, you need to start scheduling resources. This includes assigning employees to the project, identifying equipment required, and even setting a timeline for the project. Look back to your tools of the trade, and identify the resources you have at your disposal.
Communication plan: Setting this plan is extremely important with stakeholders. How will everyone discuss the project? What does this cadence look like and how often will updates occur? Set up a consistent way to communicate with the team and any internal or external members immediately.
Get Approval: For your project to move forward, it needs approval from those in charge. The project plan/communication should be submitted to those with authority to give the go-ahead, and then it’s time to start executing.
Now that the project has been initiated, planned, and approved, it’s time to start execution. This stage is all about taking the project’s goals, putting them into a concrete plan, and making things happen! This stage is when all of the tasks and milestones are assigned to team members, and work needs to start.
Create tasks: Once the project plan is in place, it’s time to start creating tasks. First, break down the project’s goals into small, manageable tasks that can be completed. This will help ensure that the project remains on track and on schedule.
Assign tasks: Once the tasks are created, they need to be assigned to team members. This includes putting them in a timeline and ensuring that everyone has the resources to complete them.
Adjust as needed: Things will not always go according to plan. That’s why it’s essential to be flexible and adjust as needed. If something changes or a new risk arises, you need to be able to adapt the plan accordingly.
5. Monitor and Control
The fourth step is monitoring which means tracking progress against the plan and making changes as required.
Communicate: For the project to be successful, you should check in with the team. This includes regular communication with stakeholders and team members to ensure everyone is on track and meeting deadlines and identifying any potential roadblocks.
Identify Scope Creep: As the project is executed, you need to monitor the entire scope of the project constantly. Look at any areas that might be causing a cog in the wheel, and try to identify any scope creep areas that can turn into larger issues down the line.
Often, companies forget this essential step: closing a project. Sometimes, successful or failed projects get delivered to a client and are completely overlooked. It’s vital to the success of your business to look at each of your projects and understand how they were successes and how they were not.
Document your project: The best way to learn from your projects is to document them, during and after, so you can learn from them. Looking at your project after will help you and your team understand what went well and what didn’t so that the next project can be even more successful.
The importance of project management software
One of the essential parts of a successful project is developing a detailed project plan. This includes setting out specific goals and objectives for the project, determining how they will be achieved, assigning resources to tasks, and creating timelines and budgets.
Your project manager should use software to assist to make this process as simple as possible. A project management software program like Hive will allow your team to collaborate on tasks, share files, and track progress. This will help ensure that everyone is always up-to-date on the project status and can easily access the resources they need. Using the right project management software and following the checklist above, you can ensure that your next project will run like a well-oiled machine!