The Importance of Making & Maintaining a Project List

to do lists
Importance of Making & Maintaining a Project List

A project list is the starting point for any project management process. They’re a great way to take what seems an insurmountable amount of disparate tasks and organize them. A project list can be as simple as a to-do list or a fence for projects. Learn how to make a project list and get all of your tasks, deliverables, resources and more organized on a single list. 

Learn how to make a project list and get all of your tasks, deliverables, resources and more organized on a single list. Using a project list is so important it’s worth taking a moment to explore what it is, how to create one and how it fits into managing projects with project management software tools.

What Is a Project List?

The most straightforward answer is that a project list is a to-do list for a project. You could use a project list as you would any to-do list, creating a list of tasks you need to do today, this week or over the course of a month.

But it can be so much more than a to-do list, too. You can use it to collect the phases of your project, the teams, contractors and vendors you’ll need to complete it, the equipment, tools and more. Project lists can help you frame every part of the project work so it’s easier to manage.

The versatility of a project list can’t be overstated. If you’re managing a portfolio or program and have lots of projects to keep track of, a project list can serve as the structure that keeps your portfolio from devolving into a chaotic mess. It can remind you of important dates and deadlines, shared resources and other key elements.

Why Make a Project List?

A project list can serve as a checklist that makes sure you have all the important project information logged and accessible. You want to be thorough. It’s better to have too many than too few items—you can always edit it down later.

Another reason to be thorough is that project lists keep you organized. Especially in traditional projects, every activity is assigned a process and level of urgency. You can use a project list to detail those steps, including the priority, due date, who’s assigned, what resources are needed and more. Once you have this information, you’ll want to trim the fat. You want the list short, but substantial.

A project list is a living document: it should always be open to updates. Project information changes as you develop your project plan and schedule. Even once a project is being executed, there are likely internal and external forces that are going to force you to adapt or delete some parts of the project list.

How Do I Make a Project List?

Now that you’re ready to make a project list, where should you start? Most people begin with a pen and paper, or the notes app on their phone, and just jot things down. There’s nothing wrong with this static approach, but it doesn’t lend itself to collaboration, and you often need other people involved to get the full picture.

Another problem with just making a list is that all the work you do there will have to be transferred to whatever tool you’re using to manage the project. A piece of paper is great for going to shop at the store, but not as helpful if you’re managing architects, engineers and contractors when building a bridge.

Maintaining and Prioritizing a Project List can be achieved by using the following approaches, items such as project management software to build your project list. The priority tagging of each item of your project list is another step in organizing your work. Moving the project list into a timeline allows you to see all the items in one place on a chronological chart. If you’re using a Gantt chart, which is a spreadsheet and a timeline, then you get even more control over your project list.

Once you execute your project list there are other project management tools that will help you stay on track. For example, having resource management features can help you see the availability of your team and balance their workload to keep them more productive.

A project list is a great way to take what seems an insurmountable amount of disparate tasks and organize them. It can be as simple as a to-do list or a fence for many projects. Let us know your approach and if you use to-do-lists we would like to hear from you. All the best on your project management journey, please like share and subscribe to the project management channel. Thank you.

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