Beyond the Checklist, Know What They Can and Can’t Do

Checklists are valuable tools for project management professionals—they help to keep teams on track, to ensure tasks don’t fall off the radar, to maintain efficient communication channels, and to keep dollars flowing to the right places. But checklists can’t do everything, and PMP®s should be mindful of where weaknesses may be lurking.

Checklists are quickly out of date. It may sound humorous, but Project Teams would do well to create one checklist that specifically deals with keeping all other checklists up to date. An outdated checklist that misses newly added tasks or recently implemented processes is setting your team up for problems down the road. Don’t wait for the next project to launch—it’s better to update checklists as soon as a relevant change is announced.

Checklists are rarely complete. It’s nearly impossible for a master checklist to include everything for every project. Are all stakeholder groups covered? Will there be any out-of-the-ordinary contracts that must be addressed? Each checklist should be evaluated at the outset to ensure it includes everything your particular project will involve.

Reference your checklists at the right time. Many checklists are designed to help close out a particular phase of a project, but it’s a good idea to review the checklist long before the final task is scheduled to be completed. This not only helps gauge the resources necessary to close out the checklist, it also gives your team an opportunity to proactively spot and address any potential issues.

Checklists don’t replace communication. No matter who’s using your checklists—Project Team members, external partners, supporting internal groups, etc.—it’s crucial to remember that most of these people aren’t project management specialists. Checklists often give only top-level information, so your team must make a concerted effort to communicate all additional details and be available to answer any questions.

project management checklis

Project management training tips provided by PMAlliance.

Project Experience

Portfolio Management
Successful portfolio management calls for exceptional data management skills and diligent oversight across multiple efforts.
Demanding, time sensitive, and finely tuned, manufacturing projects require close attention and experienced oversight.
IT Projects
Organizations must be able to successfully execute challenging and highly visible technology projects to maximize revenue.
Power Plants
Power Plants must be able to keep these vital infrastructure assets current, efficient, and economically positive.
High-profile hurdles and expensive risks of failure make these projects critical to manage properly from the very beginning.
Presents complexities at nearly every stage, from allocating resources to controlling schedule variances, or clearing regulatory & safety hurdles.
Ensuring team members are able to move outside the silos of their department or discipline is the key to achieving success.
Product Dev
Design and other early-stage activities must be carefully orchestrated while maintaining visibility on future impacts and resource needs.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Among the riskiest and most strategically important initiatives a company can undertake, and their outcomes can make or break the business.
Finance & Insurance
Technology implementations call for the right level of planning detail and diligent oversight.
An ERP implementation can be among the most disruptive and strategically important initiative an organization can undertake.