Project managers (PMs) are busy people. According to a recent survey, 59% of project managers reported running two to five projects at once, while only 15% of project managers reported running only one project at a time.
It takes skill to organize and manage one project at once, let alone multiple. One essential component of any PM’s toolkit is a project management checklist. But it’s not just professional project managers who benefit from using a project management checklist. A project management checklist is vital to almost any project’s success, from a home renovation or cross-country move to a product launch or construction project.
Simply put, a project management checklist is a list of the steps required to successfully navigate a project, including conducting research, forming a team, planning the project, and executing it on time and within budget.
The main function of a project checklist is to help project managers stay organized by keeping track of individual tasks, requirements, goals, and deadlines. A checklist helps PMs and their teams prepare for tasks ahead of time and streamline the project’s execution.
This Project Checklist Template from Spreadsheet.com allows you to easily create a task list, assign people to individual tasks, set due dates, and update task statuses.
Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just getting off the ground with your first project, the benefits of using a project management checklist cannot be overstated. First and foremost, project checklists provide a detailed high-level view of each step to help avoid duplication of efforts, keep tabs on all required tasks, and make sure nothing gets overlooked.
Other benefits of using a project management checklist include:
Resource identification and allocation: Since fewer than 60% of projects are completed within budget, it’s imperative to manage and allocate resources effectively. A work breakdown structure (WBS) with an accompanying checklist helps project managers identify the resources needed each step of the way and plan accordingly. This Detailed Project Budget with WBS Template from Spreadsheet.com is a great tool to help you identify and allocate resources.
Project checklists will vary from organization to organization and project to project, but all project checklists should:
There are a few key steps every project manager should take before creating a project management checklist:
Once these steps are completed, fill in any missing pieces on the checklist, and finalize your formal project plan. The project checklist will serve as the starting point for project execution and will contain all of the essential information the team needs to stay on task and bring the project across the finish line on schedule and under budget.
Project checklists are invaluable for planning and executing individual projects, but they can be used for other purposes, too, including product launches and documentation.
A product launch is a major undertaking that includes many moving parts with cross-departmental teams and stakeholders. Because the stakes are high, a product launch checklist is essential for keeping all of the pieces in one place, and it allows managers to plan for multiple scenarios that might impact the launch. Spreadsheet.com’s Project Launch Plan Template is a checklist template made specifically for hassle-free product launches.
Project checklists can also be used for documentation processes. Proper documentation of project goals, tasks, schedules, and communication is essential during both the execution of a project and the handoff process upon completion.
Project checklists contain all the necessary information you need to conduct an after-project evaluation (also known as a post-mortem) and glean new insights and trouble spots for future projects. Since the project management checklist contains all the relevant information about the execution of the project, documented in real time, there’s no need to compile or create separate assets afterwards.
A good project checklist can also serve as documentation for status updates to stakeholders, project sponsors, and team members. Documentation is the most-cited task project managers wish they could skip, and using a comprehensive project management checklist helps reduce that burden.
Project checklists are essential to planning, organizing, and executing a project successfully. Far more than a simple to-do list, these comprehensive checklists keep valuable information readily available for all involved and provide a way to track a project at every stage. Spreadsheet.com has powerful project checklist templates to help you keep projects on budget and running smoothly toward the finish line.