Project Management

The Power of the Checklist!

Reading Time:
2 mins 11 secs
Ben Willmott

Checklists are not the most exciting topic, but wow, they have value if you use them to their full potential.

If you want to perform at a higher level and make your working days easier, read on!

There are two types of checklists.

The Process Checklist which removes the thinking, so you can do repetitive tasks faster, maintain quality standards and be consistent in everything you do.

The Outlier Checklist which covers actions you might need to do, think of, and check but not consistently.

I’ll start with the Outlier Checklist, as this isn’t one that’s commonly used. Whether you’re a Project Manager, Account Manager, or any role for any industry, it’s often hard to stand out next to someone in a similar position, whether that’s in your company or the interview process.

To do this, you must think differently to get noticed, as performing well at what you do isn’t always enough.

An Outlier Checklist will change depending on what you do and your level. To create one, consider everything that will make you stand out from your colleagues and impress a client or manager. Or what will help your team improve, improve your performance, or learn from previous mistakes.

Here’s what my current weekly version in Outlook looks like, and it’s locked in for 9 am every Monday, and I have another version at the start of the month too.

Example checklist

Outlier Checklists should change and evolve, keep what works, remove what doesn’t, and improve it.

The Process Checklist is simple; if you have something you regularly repeat that has multiple steps, create a Process Checklist.

For example, if you regularly write SOWs, right down the logical order of what you need to do to create one, then add in watch-outs for the most common issues.

You may be thinking, I know how to write an SOW, but why not follow a set up of steps that you know, if followed, will be efficient and will minimise mistakes?

Plus, you don’t have to think about what you must do, so you can use your willpower and brain power to focus on the content.

Then each time you use it, add to it and adapt it to improve the quality of your outputs and the speed you create the document.

That’s it, so will you start using checklists to improve your performance and make your life easier?

Ben Willmott
Ben is Delivery Director at the London based creative agency Wunderman Thompson where he creates bespoke ways or working for his clients and teams. Ben is also the founder of The PPM Academy specializing in coaching Project Management, Agile Delivery and how to be more productive at home and work.

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