Why a project kickoff checklist is important and how you can create one in Taskade


A team project managing by drawing a plan on a window.
Image: NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe Stock

Project management is an absolute must as your company and organizations ramp up their efforts. The more complex a project is, the more management it’ll need.

One of the most important aspects of a project happens well before the first task is complete or the first kanban card is moved. That work is focused on the kickoff of the project itself. It’s called a kickoff for a reason, because, like a kickoff in American football, it launches everything.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

When your project starts without having been properly kicked off, things can easily go astray. Without a solid start, your stakeholders may have trouble knowing where the project is heading, what their purpose is, what is expected of them, how they are to communicate and collaborate, and much more.

You don’t want to start a project like that. You’ll not only want to hold a project kickoff meeting to fill every team member in on the direction and purpose of the project, but you’ll also want to have a clearly-defined project kickoff checklist.

What is a project kickoff checklist?

Simply put, this is a checklist that includes important information for anyone that will have a stake in the project. Of course, not every project kickoff checklist will be the same, but many of them will contain information regarding the following:

What’s the project summary?

A description of the project that can include either general or specific information. This is simply a way for anyone to quickly see what this project is all about.

What are the principles and goals of the project?

What will be the guiding principles for the project? For example, will the goal be creating an agile software deployment, or is it all about raising a specific amount of funding?

What’s its scope and deliverables?

Determining and documenting a list of goals, deliverables, tasks, costs and deadlines for the project.

What’s out of scope?

This is anything extra that might be beyond the stated goals of the project.

What are the communication channels?

This is how stakeholders can communicate with one another.

What’s the timeline?

What is the projected timeline of the project, including milestone expectations and a hard deadline?

What tools and methods will be used?

What programming languages, PR channels, methodologies and other related tools will be used to complete the project?

How are you managing risk?

How will your team identify, log, monitor and resolve risks and issues for the project?

How will progress and milestones be tracked?

A list of the tools and methods that will be used to track progress and milestones associated with the project.

Who’s doing what?

What teams are taking on what aspects of the project? Who’s leading the project? This can be a very specific or general list and can even include contact information for managers and team leaders.

How will success for the project be defined?

Is success for the project defined in the form of a deliverable, a goal, a dollar amount or some other milestone? This should be very clearly defined so everyone associated with the project will know what is expected for the final results.

This checklist should be readily available for all to see in the project. In fact, it should be easily accessible from within the project page in the tool you use for management. For example, Taskade makes it very easy to add a project kickoff checklist and even make it available for all to see. Let me show you how to create one.

What you’ll need to create a Project Kickoff Checklist in Taskade

The only things you’ll need for this are a valid Taskade account and a workspace created to house the project. That’s it: Let’s get to work.

How to create a Project Kickoff Checklist in Taskade

Log in to your Taskade account and select a workspace. In the resulting window (Figure A), click the New Project drop-down.

Figure A

My sample Taskade Workspace.
My sample Taskade Workspace.

From the drop-down, click Browse Templates. In the Search Templates field, type project kickoff checklist. In the results (Figure B), you should see the Project Kickoff Checklist.

Figure B

The Project Kickoff Checklist template for Taskade.
The Project Kickoff Checklist template for Taskade.

Hover your cursor over that entry and then click Use Template (Figure C).

Figure C

Adding the Project Kickoff Checklist to your project.
Adding the Project Kickoff Checklist to your project.

You will then be asked to select a workspace to house the template (Figure D).

Figure D

The Taskade Workspace selector.
The Taskade Workspace selector.

Once you’ve selected the workspace, the Project Kickoff Checklist will open on your workspace (Figure E), where you can start refining it to meet your needs.

Figure E

Our new Project Kickoff Checklist in Taskade.
Our new Project Kickoff Checklist in Taskade.

I would highly recommend you refine that checklist before sharing it with anyone. Make sure it includes all of the elements and information you need. Once you’ve done that, you can assign it to your team and managers so they start the project off on the same foot as you.

With just a little bit of work, you can give your project a bit of a head start, even before that first bit of work is one.

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