Do you really need a checklist for every project?

Regardless of whether you have just recently gained your project management accreditation or have been working in the industry for a number of years, the simple answer is yes. A checklist for every project can be a very handy tool.

If you think about it, we use forms of checklists in many aspects of our lives. From the simple task list you might put on the fridge to remind you of a couple of important phone calls you want to make in the morning to cooking a family meal. A recipe or a step-to-step guide is something we would prefer not to be without. Even if you have made a recipe many times, it’s always nice to have something to check back with to make sure you have everything just perfect.

The same thing applies to project management, a checklist is a necessity. It is something you will refer to every day and can make managing all of those important tasks much easier. A well thought our checklist can really improve the outcome of your project.

Increase productivity

A checklist is a productivity tool that is included in many of the project management software programmes that are available. When you put a checklist in place at the start of your project you are clearly mapping out all of the tasks that need to be done along the way. Everyone knows what needs to be done and more importantly what is expected of them as an individual. When you include timeframes, everyone also has a clearer idea of how long they have for each task, and this can help to drive their productivity.

Everyone is on the same page

When you use one checklist for everyone’s tasks it can help team members to see what others are working on and even if they are falling behind or are ahead of schedule. It offers a clearly defined route of communication and of course good communication is one of those project management skills that should always be at the top of the list.

Useful for filling others in

Whether you have a new member join your team or someone is off sick, a checklist will allow you to familiarise yourself with where the project is up to at any point in time and this can be incredibly helpful.

Allocate tasks

On a good checklist it is possible to allocate the job responsibilities to the different members of the team. It will also allow everyone to see how evenly the tasks are split and see things like what is happening with deliverables and how this might affect one of their tasks or cause an overlap between their work and that of another.

Helps future planning

Keeping copies of your project checklists is a tool when it comes to planning future projects. They will allow you to see how you did things and help you pinpoint those things that you could improve upon. It is a great way of keeping any knowledge you have gained for future tasks.

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