PNW Drupal Summit Session: Checklists for Effective Project Management

This session led by Amy Scavarda discussed how to use simple checklists to manage complex projects and tasks. Read on for some key takeaways.

First off, read The Checklist Manifesto. This whole presentation was inspired by parts of the book.

Why checklists?

  • Avoid easy mistakes. Learn from past problems and make sure next time around there is a check in place to avoid repeating the mistake.
  • A checklist creates a clear, concise objective that everyone can understand and communicate.
  • A checklist should not be over-engineered. It needs to be easy to be affective and have anyone want to use it. It doesn't have to be set in stone, and in fact, it should change to match needs as you learn.
  • Checklists make you look more competent without having to increase your skill level or complexity. Checklists help an organization scale without adding resources by preventing mistakes that were made in previous projects from happening again.

Checklists are helpful for:

  • Requests from the client - artwork, common decisions that are overlooked until during development
  • Initial Configuration - setting up Drupal and preparing for theming
  • Architecture, wireframes, and comps - making sure all the details are covered to be able to communicate designs to developers
  • Module implementation & settings
  • QA - browsers testing, common bugs...
  • Deployment - Load Testing, Performance Audits...

How to get your developers buy-in with checklists

  • Make the case that it helps them do their jobs better and more quickly, leaving room for innovation.
  • Create templates for checklists for new projects. When much of a project is similar to past work, there is already a template for how to do the work quickly and effectively. If a checklist template exists, there will be fewer oversights each time a similar project is built.

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