Any IT project needs a checklist if it is going to be successful. Your checklist is the same as the roadmap you use when you go on vacation, except that this roadmap is going to save you money and make you blissfully happy.

We encourage creativity within each part of the template, but we also believe that following a plan that works is the best way to go.

Identify your project manager

Your project must have an individual in charge. For one thing, it makes accountability easier when there is one project manager to beat on…umm…look to when things go wrong.

The other reason for choosing one project manager is because the most successful projects adhere to one project management methodology. If you try management by committee, you are going to get multiple ideas as to how project management should work. The result will be chaos, lost time, and lost money. Choose one project manager and be sure that you are on board with that managers preferred management methodology.

Decide on a project management software platform

There will be a lot of things going on throughout your IT project and being organized is essential for success. Choosing a project management software platform is important because it will give your project manager the tools they need to complete the project. Not only that, but it will also monitor progress and make changes as the project goes along.

Your project manager probably has a software platform in mind, which will save the company a lot of hassles. If you want to avoid burning the hot dogs at a backyard BBQ, then you should always let the cook use their own grill. Makes sense to us.

Outline your project objectives

Not having project objectives is like packing for a vacation when you have no idea where you are going. Without a destination, you have no idea what to pack, what extra items to bring, and what kind of activities you will be enjoying. Project objectives are essential in creating an accurate and achievable project timeline. Developing project objectives is a simple matter of answering questions:

• What is the point of your project?

• How long do you want it to take?

• What are the benefits you are hoping to achieve?

• What is your plan of attack?

Create the project scope

The scope of your project involves identifying all of the groups and individuals your project will affect, how it will affect those groups and individuals, and all of the components involved in the project.

For an IT project, the scope usually involves identifying the kind of software being installed, who will be using the software, and why the software is being put into place. Basically, the scope explains what will happen when you achieve your objectives.

Point out any risks

Sometimes, no matter how much you try to avoid it, you wind up burning the brownies. It is important to point out what could happen if the project gloriously fails in the end. How much will current data and systems be damaged, and what kind of time loss are you looking at?

No one wants to fail, but it happens. If you do not have contingencies in place for all levels of potential failure, then you are asking for trouble. This is the part of the plan where you identify your roll-out schedule and how you plan on minimizing company-wide damage if you do, indeed, burn the brownies.

Avengers assemble!

At this point, you know what your goal is and you know what types of personnel you will need to get the project done. It is time to choose your team and bring it together.

This project management template needs to be done in order because each step builds on the previous steps. You have no way of knowing what people you will need until you know what it is you are trying to do.

Make sure executives, managers, and any affected parties are on board

Let the office politics games begin. As long as you have comprehensively addressed all of the issues in the previous checklist items, then you have nothing to lose by submitting your plan to the people it will affect. You should be prepared to back up every aspect of your plan, from the software you are installing to the team you have assembled, at this point in the process.

Develop your timeline milestones

The milestones on your project timeline are the items you will be delivering that will bring the project to completion. Milestones are important because they help you to develop a schedule that is realistic, and monitoring the implementation of milestones allows you to track the quality of your project as it goes along.

Each IT project should be a learning experience for your company. If you are behind on delivering your milestones based on your timeline, you need to find out why and correct those problems for the future.

Make up the agenda for your kick-off meeting

Your team is in place, the company is on-board with your project, your project management software platform is in place, and your timeline has been established. It is time for that first project meeting where you outline the expectations for the project and officially launch project activity for the first time.

Each IT project is different and should be treated on an individual basis. But the common thread that runs among all of your IT projects is the use of a checklist that helps to keep everything organized and prevents anyone from burning the brownies.