Pre-Development Checklist for Project Plans

Part of the Software Project Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Smart software project managers do considerable prep work before they create a project plan. Applying a pre-development checklist ensures that your project plan will have a strong foundation.

Okay, you're ready to start developing your project plan. Have you

  • Spoken with the appropriate stakeholders?

  • Met with experienced project managers who have already completed similar projects?

  • Collaborated with your project team to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and experiences?

  • Understood how each team member can contribute to project success?

  • Discussed clear expectations with your project sponsor so that you both can develop a clear understanding of what project success will look like?

  • Documented the assumptions and constraints of the software project so that you know how they affect your software project?

  • Developed a solid change-control system so that you can prevent scope creep? (Scope creep is when some stakeholders lose perspective and begin to make requests that were never part of the original plan.)

  • Documented and distributed a clear, concise communication plan?

  • Created the project charter (or ensured that someone else created it) and received sign-off by the project sponsor?

One of the purposes of the project plans is to document and communicate exactly what you hope to accomplish when you create the software. You must document the resources required to accomplish project tasks, the start and end dates of each task, and the predecessors and successors of each task (what has to happen first and what has to happen next).

Before you document all of this information, be sure to

  • Talk with the appropriate stakeholders.

  • Gather all of the requirements.

  • Meet with your project sponsor.

  • Talk to other project managers who have preceded you.

If you do all of these things carefully, you'll likely create a thorough and accurate project plan.

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