The Project Manager's Book of Checklists

Prentice Hall
Richard Newton  
Total pages
November 2008

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The Project Manager's Book of Checklists
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Managers are faced with complex tasks all the time. Completing these tasks may require setting up and running a project or on other occasions it may need a short, structured action plan.

A huge amount of approaches exist, in thousands of books, to help managers complete tasks. Occasionally, a manager has the time to go off and read a text on a topic like how to manage a project, but often they have an immediate requirement to do something now. There isn’t time to plough through a project management book. Usually, all that is needed is a simple list of steps, a checklist that the manager can read to kick start them into action.

The core contents of this book will follow a standard project management process – starting in initial concept identification, and going through to complete implementation. At each stage there are tasks and problems that face project managers, and for each identified task or problem there will be a checklist.

Unlike normal project management texts, which are written to be read end-to-end, this book is designed to act as an everyday reference source that will be picked up and used every time the question “how do I …..” comes into the readers mind. The book will sit on a manager’s desk at work and be referenced regularly. It will become as much an important supporting tool as a book to read.



Table of Contents


How to use this book

0.      Introduction

0.1.   Which checklist do you need?


A.    Managing straightforward tasks      

1.      Personal work management

1.1                       Understanding your workload

1.2                       Writing an effective action list to plan your work

1.3                       Prioritising your workload

1.4                       Removing non-value-adding tasks from your work

1.5                       Working to an action list

1.6                       Deciding when you need help

1.7                       Getting your line manager’s support

1.8                    Delegating activities

1.9                    When and how to say no to a task


2.      Managing others’ activity

2.1                    Defining tasks and setting objectives for others

2.2                    Understanding skills and resources needed for a task

2.3                    Choosing the right person to do a task

2.4                    Checking progress

2.5                    Helping someone else to complete a task

2.6                    Managing tasks across a team

2.7                    Getting someone to do a task when you aren’t their line manager


3.      Clarifying problems and opportunities

3.1                    Identifying problems and opportunities

3.2                    Understanding the impact of a problem

3.3                    Root cause analysis

3.4                    Generating opportunities and solutions

3.5                    Exploring ideas

3.6                    Choosing between solutions

3.7                    Converting ideas into actions



B.  Managing projects

4.      Project selection

4.1                    Developing a project business case

4.2                    Aligning projects with business needs

4.3                    Gaining buy-in for a project

4.4                    Is this a project or not?

4.5                    Critical success factors for projects

4.6                    Project management process checklist


5.      Project definition

5.1                    Determining project objectives

5.2                    Exploring customer needs

5.3                    Discovering success criteria

5.4                    Defining a project’s scope

5.5                    Exploring the iron triangle of time– cost– quality

5.6                    Tips for collecting requirements

5.7                    Filtering and prioritising between requirements

5.8                    Turning requirements into designs


6.      Project initiation

6.1                    The project sponsor

6.2                    The project manager

6.3                    Choosing a project strategy and lifecycle

6.4                    Creating plans using work breakdown structures

6.5                    Estimating project times and costs

6.6                    Identifying the skills, roles and organisation required

6.7                    Choosing the project team

6.8                project resources

6.9                     Creating a communications plan    

6.10                   Mobilising a project team and running a kick-off meeting


7.      Managing projects

7.1                    Tracking progress and writing a progress report

7.2                    Running a project status review session

7.3                    Managing dependencies

7.4                    Contingency plans

7.5                    When and how to escalate for help

7.6                    Driving performance in a project team

7.7                    Identifying and benefiting from quick wins

7.8                    Managing third parties on projects

7.9                    Dealing with problems – when and how to change project team    members and when to stop a project

7.10                Reducing a project’s duration


8.      Completing projects and implementing deliverables

8.1                    Implementing deliverables

8.2                    Testing deliverables

8.3                    Accepting project deliverables and gaining sign-off

8.4                    Determining when a project is complete

8.5                    Releasing project team members


9.      Learning from projects

9.1                    Determining if a project is successful or not

9.2                    Performing a review of a completed project

9.3                    Ensuring lessons are learnt

9.4                    Improving an organisation’s project performance

9.5                    Performing project / programme QA


10.  Common supporting tools

10.1                Risk management process checklist

10.2                The sources of risk

10.3                Dealing with risks

10.4                Dealing with issues

10.5                Dealing with assumptions

10.6                Change control

10.7                Identifying and managing stakeholders

10.8                Estimating and managing a project budget

10.9                Project performance metrics

10.10            Additional and more advanced project management techniques and tools


C.  Managing multiple projects

11.  Multiple projects

11.1                When to break a project into phases

11.2                Programmes

11.3                Core programme management tasks

11.4                Choosing a programme manager

11.5                Programme reporting

11.6                The needs of big projects or programmes

11.7                Portfolios and portfolio management

11.8                Portfolio reporting

11.9                Choosing the projects for a portfolio

11.10             Understanding human resource constraints and resolving conflicts


12.  Managing a project management team

12.1                The function and roles of the project management team

12.2                Sizing and structuring a project management team

12.3                Recruiting project managers

12.4                Setting project management objectives

12.5                Developing project management skills

12.6                Managing and motivating a project management team

12.7               The project management office

12.8                Choosing project management software and tools

12.9             oject managcture


D.  Achieving results from tasks, projects and programmes

13.  Handover and change: changing an organisation a project.

13.1      bsp;      Preparing for project handover and operational readiness

13.2                Dealing with resistance and support

13.3                Deciding when to go live

13.4                Supporting the organisation during implementation

13.5                Determining when a change is complete and if it is successful

13.6                Critical success factors for change

13.7                Managing multiple changes in parallel


14.  Achieving business value from projects

14.1                Identifying benefits

14.2                Measuring and tracking benefits

14.3                Realising project benefits

14.4                Realising benefits across a portfolio

14.5                Linking projects to budgets

14.6                Aligning projects with strategy




Back Cover

This bestselling checklist formula is your ultimate guide to project management success.

So you need to start and run a project, smoothly, successfully and on time. Chances are you’ve got a million other things to think about, so staying on top of things, let alone one step ahead, is a real challenge.

The Project Manager’s Book of Checklists is your answer. It’s everything you need to know and more – it shows you what to do, even if you don’t know what needs to be done yet. The unique checklist format has been specifically designed for busy people just like you to help you access the tips and advice as quickly as possible.

“…a comprehensive and easy-to-use toolkit that will be helpful to all project managers. It’s a great addition to any business book collection.”

Kevin Muraski, Programme Director, BT Consumer

 “The Project Manager’s Book of Checklists provides quick and helpful advice that will aid project managers in overcoming their daily challenges.”

Peter Meredith, Director, Fox Dene Consulting





Richard Newton is an experienced executive who has worked both as a management consultant and a senior manager in a number of major corporations. Over the past twenty years he has built a superb track record in the successful delivery of projects and business change, the setting up and management of project and business improvement teams, and advising companies on how to ensure successful delivery on an ongoing basis. He is an advocate and successful practitioner of simple approaches to project and change management.

Reader Review(s)

"Of the countless books on project management none comes close to rivalling the practicality of Richard Newton's work….this is an invaluable resource and provides guidance for both novice and experienced project managers."

Professional Manager, July 2009