Hierarchical to-do lists let decompose projects into smaller interrelated tasks and sub-tasks for further planning and management. With help of to-do lists it becomes easier to plan and perform job assignments, because to-do lists include smaller dependent tasks that require simple actions. Sometimes larger to-do lists (task spreadsheets) consist of small projects and sub-projects that are components of portfolios and programmes.
A typical to-do list provides an understanding of the following items:
- What tasks and activities to do
- For what purpose
- In what sequence
- Within what time-frames
- With what resources
All this information helps in managing dependencies between project tasks. Project managers can use to-do lists to guide team members through the task execution process and explain how to best perform project activities. They use priorities and categories to plan team assignments, rank project tasks, and link activities to each other. Besides, managers can add estimates of time, risk and cost in team to-do lists to determine task predecessors and successors.