Sunday 25 July 2021

Project checkpoints

Project management is firmly entrenched in the corporate life of almost any company. For example, even the implementation of any changes in the company refers to project activities. But in order to successfully achieve the intended goals, the project must be managed. One of the most effective tools that allow you to monitor projects is checkpoints. I think a lot of people are familiar with this term from the field of project management. Of course, this is a very effective tool in skillful hands, but if used incorrectly, the project can lead to "delaying" or even "failure".

Let's look at how to effectively manage a project by checkpoints.

What are project checkpoints?


Checkpoints are significant aspects of a project, usually related to the achievement of intermediate project results. When checkpoints are reached, a comparison of planned and actual indicators at the time of reaching the control point is usually made. The checkpoint description contains information about at what point in time the scheduled tasks will be completed and what will result from their execution.

This approach greatly facilitates control over the project, both on the part of the project manager and on the part of the customer, who is important to see what results and when he receives.

Project control by checkpoints

At the appointed point in time, the project team prepares a report that describes the current status of the project:

  • What has been done and what results have been achieved;
  • What tasks are not completed, why, what is the delay, the forecast of execution;
  • How effective and efficient the project team worked;
  • What ideas were born in the course of performing tasks and so on.
  • Imagine that we have a report where the results do not meet expectations. What could be the first reaction to overdue tasks?

Find the reasons why the tasks were not completed, find the culprit and punish.


Observe yourself, what question are you working with if the results are unsatisfactory?

If this is the question "Why did this happen and who is to blame for this?",see where this question will lead you. In my experience, this issue leads to a different direction from constructive problem solving and achieving the necessary results. All attention is focused on finding the guilty and punishing them. Will this approach lead to the qualitative performance of tasks and the achievement of goals?

"We will punish the guilty. Let's catch up with the chart so that at the next checkpoint everything will be as planned!"

What is the purpose of control?

To find and punish those responsible or to monitor the compliance of actual results with the planned ones?

To understand how close you and the project team are to your goals?

I hope you have chosen the second answer. And more importantly, control, as a control element, makes it possible to lead to results.

For example, there have been changes. There is a deviation from the original plan. You can direct all efforts to "catch up" with the planned deadlines. 


You can find the guilty and punish. Help? unlikely. After all, nothing has changed. As they did, so they will continue to do. The focus of attention shifted to corrections, that is, to the process of "violent activity". We do it to do it. No one remembers about the goals. Why and why is this done?

We make the control constructive

Let's look at it from a different angle. Let the planned results at the checkpoint do not correspond to the actual ones. Do not rush to act according to the usual scenario. Try asking questions.

  • What's important now?
  • Is the goal still relevant?
  • That has changed. Has the goal itself changed?
  • What needs more attention now?
  • Where are we "here" now? Mark on a scale from 1 to 10 how much the situation meets expectations.
  • What would be the ideal result? What is 10 points in achieving a result?


Try to understand and describe the current situation, and then accept it as the starting point, as a reference point for a new plan. All further planning will be done from here. If possible, adjust the goal. You have approached it one step and now you can consider it in more detail.

Notice the difference?

  • In the first variant, control is used as a tool of punishment. At the same time, attention narrows and concentrates on the problem, from which the problem only grows. The goal falls out of focus and becomes unimportant. And therefore unattainable. Such control restricts, restricts and does not give movement.
  • In the second case, we open up a space of options for the way to achieve the goal. The goal remains in the focus of attention. And to achieve it, we find solutions, form an action plan, take concrete steps that lead to the planned results.

If you look at checkpoints as a way to track progress, as a definition and understanding of the current situation, as an assessment, measuring the distance to the goal, then it becomes possible to make adjustments. We get the ability to manage change. The ability to influence the achievement of the result.

What needs to be done to achieve the goal?

  • What steps will these be?
    How can I, as a manager, support my employees to achieve their goals?
    What will I do if there are no expected results?
    What else can I bring to the company to support my focused activities?
    What will strengthen the initiative of employees in achieving the goal?

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