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Project Preparation Checklist

The summer is almost over. Are you disappointed? Or do you feel well rested and keen to face new challenges? I hope it’s the latter! 

The beginning of autumn is the time when most organisations (especially the ones who are interested in receiving EU grants) start looking for project opportunities.From my experience, both as a project writer and a management consultant, I know that project preparation can be a chaotic venture. We study grant guidelines and try to design a project that will meet the funder’s requirements, while also meeting our own needs through adding value or innovation to our organisation and target groups. Looking for partners can also be an arduous and time-consuming process. Often, we have to work a lot of overtime in advance of the deadline and can often nd ourselves pressing submit minutes before applications close.

Have you been there? I must admit, this happened to me often at the beginning of my career. What I have learned through experience though, is that by creating a simple checklist, I can ease a lot of the anxiety around project applications and ensure that all the necessary steps are completed in advance of the deadline. 


A checklist is a list of steps you need to do, verify, check or inspect. Checklists are used in every imaginable eld — from programming, building inspections, to complex medical surgeries. Using a checklist allows you to ensure you don’t forget any important steps.Here is a checklist I created for myself and for my clients to ensure all important steps are completed before submitting a project proposal.  

Project Preparation Checklist: 

  • The project idea is aligned with my organisation’s strategic goals. To verify this, check that the idea ts into your organisation’s Project-Program-Portfolio structure. You should be able to explain why this project is necessary and how it complements and supports your existing work.
  • The project proposal meets the priorities and objectives of the grant programme, e.g. European programme (if applicable) or funder priorities.
  • The project proposal corresponds with all formal criteria specied by the funder.
  • I researched the target group. I know who they are and what their needs are. The project goal is to answer those identied needs.
  • I have built a strong partnership with other organisations (if applicable).
  • I organised a (virtual) meeting with them to explain the project idea.
  • Partners contributed to the project application.
  • Partners accepted the project application and the budget before submission.
  • I made a project timeline.
  • I have put structure to the project by breaking it down into tasks, activities, or work packages.
  • The budget is reasonable and correlates to the project structure created.
  • The main project components (goals, budget, partner roles) were approved by the management of my organisation. 
  • The project application was checked by an additional person before submission

This checklist is part of the Project Management Workbook I wrote and use at the Successful Team = Successful Project course that we are running this year in the Killary Adventure Lodge in Ireland and in Krakow, Poland. You can find out more about this course on our website. There are only a few remaining places so book yours now if you’re interested!


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