Check-Points are a way of telling if your project doing well or badly and whether you are where you want to be.
People can become some wrapped up in what they are doing that they forget what is going on around them. Check-Points are and opportunity to review where you are.
If you were heading in the wrong direction, you would want someone to tell you?
Check-Points: One solution to this problem
One approach I use to address this situation is to have periodic “Check-Points”. A Check-Point is a quick review which is not directly linked to the project schedule. Regular reviews are best. You can have them at any frequency to suit your own needs.
Choosing the frequency of Check-Points is a matter of personal preference. Too frequently and you are wasting effort. Not frequently enough and you may “travel in the wrong direction” for longer than you need to. In my business I combine the Check-Points with the quarterly reports I produce for my investors, collaborators and colleagues.
The Check-Point should confirm that the objectives of the project are still valid. After all, who wants to have an on-budget, on-schedule project for superseded technology! It should assess where the project is relative to its objectives and it should assess the rate of progress and identify any issues. All of this should be done as quickly and with as little expenditure of effort as possible.
Plan your Check-Points carefully
Running a Check-Point should not be onerous. At its simplest it involves the Project Manager and a few other people and can be performed without disrupting the project team.
- Confirm with the Project Sponsor (the Business) that the objectives of the project are still valid. After all, conditions in the outside world may have changed.
- How much progress the project has made?
- How much of the scheduled time has passed and how much remains?
- How much of the budget has been spent and how much remains?
- What is the rate of progress?
- Are there any issues which are inhibiting progress?
If you are using one Agile project management, then you probably want the check-point to coincide with the end of a sprint.
Schedule a Check-Point
Why not schedule a Check-Point for your current project. Aim to answer the following questions:
- Is the project still valid for the business?
- Where are you? (And where do you want to be?)
- Are you moving in the right direction?
- Are you moving at the speed you want?