The Ultimate Project Management Checklist!
Project management is the art and science of achieving a specific goal while planning its various stages, controlling the contributions of those involved, and meeting benchmarks along the way to ensure success. If this looks a bit like a juggling act, you are not mistaken. In fact, there are plenty of schools of thought when discussing the management of any project from furniture installation to the implementation of new hiring practices.
Getting Down to Project Management Basics
Whether you are a novice project manager or an old hand at the task, there are three basic aspects everyone involved needs to be clear on.
- Project definition. The scope of the project details the desired outcome. It is easy to get sidetracked during a project. For example, you may discover additional tasks or possibilities during an escalation period that may tempt you to go beyond the defined scope of the project. Resist the temptation!
- Resources. For the seasoned project leader, the budget is a restraint that curbs the desire to take the tasks associated with the project in a different direction. The budget also calls for meticulous record keeping when it comes to preventing unanticipated expenditures.
- Schedule. The C-suite may not remember your name when everything goes off without a hitch, but if there is slippage at any point, you can be sure that they will find you. Remaining on task and on budget are the two guide rails that allow you to realize the scope of the project.
Getting Down to the Business of Managing Virtually any Project
Where the majority of project managers fail, as noted by CIO Magazine, can be seen in two general areas: a lack of specificity when defining a project’s scope and being unrealistic in the determination of timelines. A simple project management checklist can help you avoid these mistakes.
- Define the project’s objective. In other words, what will this project accomplish?
- Classify your strengths. You may be a detail-oriented person, but you may lose sight of the bigger picture while getting lost in the weeds. Conversely, you may excel at seeing the bigger picture but have a difficult time planning intricate steps that fulfill the project’s scope. Knowing ahead of time what your strengths are allows you to select team members accordingly.
- Select a team. The team members should complement one another. This is not the time to play favorites or give untried personnel a chance to get their feet wet.
- Recognize potential problems. Do you have full executive buy-in? Is your team on board with the project? It is interesting to note that a problem with buy-in can derail a project quicker than financial issues.
- Know the budget. Are you operating under a fixed priced umbrella or do you have the option of going the cost-plus pricing route? The former heightens the importance of setting a realistic time line within the scope of the project. The latter may offer you some respite when you did not plan your time wisely.
- Label the schedule. You have a fixed starting date and a fixed end date. In between, it makes sense to put some benchmark checkpoints that help you evaluate how well you and the team are doing with staying on time. Although these benchmarks may be arbitrary and at your discretion, they should nevertheless be realistic and break down larger tasks into smaller manageable ones.
- Identify your corporate contact. Is there a go-to person in case of problems? If you do anticipate slippage or budget overruns, is there someone with whom you can communicate? Know who this contact is ahead of time.
Although we cannot help you with all of your project management tasks, contact us for assistance with audiovisual components as well as workstations and office tear-downs.