Project Planning Cheat Sheet

Project Planning Cheat Sheet - A list of things to consider when you start your IT project

Years ago, when I was a newer project manager, I realized I needed to develop a project planning cheat sheet: a list of all the things to consider when starting a new IT project. I managed many different types of projects and knew I didn’t want to get close to the end and realize that I’d forgotten something that would turn out to be a show-stopper.

I’m a worrier that way.

It’s been confirmed scientifically.

My husband recently sent off for a DNA test.

Don’t judge. No matter what your opinion is on this, it was interesting to read the results.

One of the interesting details was that I have the “worrier” gene. As opposed to the “warrior” gene. I knew that I was a worrier, but I didn’t know that there’s a gene for it. I felt a bit disappointed at first to see this in my report – it felt so final (and boring).

But then I was a bit relieved. I felt it validated my behavior. There’s a genetic reason for it after all.

I’d argue that my worrying has served me well, though some may counter that worrying won’t change things. Yes, I’ll concede that laying in bed while on vacation worrying that the dryer we left running might cause a fire and burn the house down. And the dogs are left inside. And they’ll all die a fiery death.

And what if the fire spreads to the neighbor’s house?

And of course, this can continue down a long morbid path.

But I think that being a worrier has had its value. I worry that I’ll wind up like Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, living in a van down by the river. As a result, I’m responsible with money.


Matt Foley

I worry that I will die sooner than expected, and therefore I relish small moments.

And because I’m a worrier, I also have those moments where I panic and think I may have missed something important in my project.


Do you do that, too?

I get to the test phase when everything should be done, and rolling out to production soon, and I think “Oh crap! Did I let the XYZ team know that we’ll be moving to production next weekend?”

As a result, over the years, I’ve compiled a list of questions and reminders – my IT project planning cheat sheet – to run through to help me remember all those things that must be addressed in my project. It has served me well. I check it at various times through the life of my project. Since it’s given me peace of mind, I thought I’d share it. Just in case you’re a worrier too.

It’s basically a long list of reminders of things to consider when planning my IT projects. You can take the list provided below and modify it to meet your needs. Make it your own. Add as needed and change department names. Or start from scratch and make your own project planning cheat sheet. It will be a document that you’ll likely add to with each project.

It’s not a foolproof way to keep anything from going wrong on your project, but at least it will hopefully help ease your mind that you haven’t forgotten something critical in your project, and you can focus on a smooth execution.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. ~ Winston Churchill


  1. Elizabeth June 24, 2016
    • Leigh Espy June 24, 2016
  2. Aarthi June 23, 2016
    • Leigh Espy June 24, 2016

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