How to Create and Organize a Project Management Checklist

project management checklistNo matter how good you are at your job, lacking an effective plan can make things chaotic. The situation is only slightly better if you have a vague outline that encompasses a few major points. Having a carefully planned checklist will keep you focused and allow you to meet your goals in a timely and efficient manner. Having this information properly organized can assist you in explaining your strategy to the people who are affected by it, and that understanding will go a long way in both shortening project times and boosting productivity.

1 – Brainstorm

Have a sit-down conversation with everyone involved to determine what your main objectives are. Listening to everyone’s input will open you up to finding the easiest navigable path through the project. Take everyone’s feedback into account in order to create a checklist that’s thorough and flows smoothly.

2 – Draft

With a pen and paper, write down everything that needs to be done. Include important things that occur within each step to be sure you aren’t glazing over crucial details. Drafting is best done with a pen and paper, because this will allow you to draw arrows and idea maps to connect your thoughts logically.

3 – Detail Your Planning

Start by creating a list of the things that are potential road blockers. Are you waiting to hear back from someone important? Do you need documents signed? Have you obtained your final budget yet? Keep track of everything you need to get things going. When you’ve finished with that, create a broad checklist that includes a larger overview of the plan. You’ll use this to break the plan down into manageable sections.

4 – Selecting a Template

If you don’t intend on making your template from scratch, you’ll need to find one that’s already ideal or easy to modify. Putting too much into a simple template will make it harder to keep track of certain intricacies, and putting too little into a complex template will make the checklist more confusing.

5 – Make Everyone an Umbrella

Turning each step into an umbrella will allow you to include the relevant sub-steps. Creating these detailed checklists for specific people will allow them to understand what their exact responsibilities are, and how you intend for them to work through the project from start to finish. That understanding will also speed up the project, as no one will be able to cut corners and it will afford more independence.

6 – Specify Your Sub-Steps

If any sub-steps require clear, multipart arrangements, make a smaller checklist for those sub-steps. While this may seem excessive, it’s better than the alternative of being vague. Having even the smallest aspects outlined is crucial to thorough project completion.

7 – Create a Progress Checklist

Having a large and unabridged master checklist will allow you to measure exactly how far you’ve come towards accomplishing your end goal. Use this checklist to measure milestones and assure that everything is working in a steady pace toward the deadline. Having this figure is essential to maintaining your timeline.

8 – Write a Completion List

What are all the things you have to do once the project is complete? Keep track of the individuals you need to notify about the completion of the project, as well as the necessary documents you will need to supply them with. Establish how the finished project will be reviewed, and ultimately delivered.

How do you currently organize your project management checklists? Leave a comment below to see how your strategy compares with those of other project managers.

Recommended Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top rated project management software, the editors at actively recommend the following:


Visit website Work OS is the project management software that helps you and your team plan, execute, and track projects and workflows in one collaborative space. Manage everything from simple to complex projects more efficiently with the help of visual boards, 200+ ready-made templates, clever no-code automations, and easy integrations. In addition, custom dashboards simplify reporting, so you can evaluate your progress and make data-driven decisions.

Learn more about

2 ClickUp

Visit website

ClickUp is one of the highest-rated project management tools today. Use Docs, Reminders, Goals, Calendars, Chat, scheduling, assigned comments, custom views, & more with this all-in-one project management tool.

Used by 800,000+ teams in companies like Airbnb, Google, and Uber, it brings all of your projects into a single app! Built for teams of all sizes and industries, Our fully customizable & proprietary features make it a must-have for anyone wanting to keep project management in one place.

Learn more about ClickUp

3 Smartsheet

Visit website

Smartsheet is an online work execution platform empowering organizations of all sizes to plan, manage, automate, and report on work. Over 80,000 brands rely on Smartsheet for project and work management.

Learn more about Smartsheet

Share Article


Kelly Smith Avatar
Get the Free Newsletter!
Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.
This email address is invalid.
Get the Free Newsletter!
Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.
This email address is invalid.

Demos, trials & More information

Check out our library of 60+ pm books