Classroom Move {Trigger List}

The Basics //

we’re working on a series of classroom changes at willow chicago — all sorts of big things: re-organizing classrooms so they’re easier for parents to navigate, re-designing spaces so that each room is just right for each age group, adding self check-in kiosks, rebranding our ministry logo, and launching a brand new 4th/5th grade classroom with deeper curriculum and mentoring.

you know, simple, easy, basic things. {ahem}

it’s sort of my own personal ministry philosophy that if you’re going to implement one grandious change, you might as well implement ten grandious changes. why not, right? do it all once to make the biggest impact, and put all your effort into communicating everything at once.

i’m either a genius, or mad crazy. we’re all leaning towards crazy at this point.

in my best attempt to make all of these things happen, and lead a somewhat smooth process, i turned to the project planning trigger list found in the book making it work by david allen.

life changing.

the project planning trigger list is a set of questions that help trigger your mind to think about things you might be missing while working on a project. specifically, the list is intended for projects that require cross-department collaboration and multi-levels of communication. check & check.

i edited the original list into a list that was just right for my classroom transition project. then, i used the list with the church lead team. as i walked through the changes, i asked them to look over the trigger list and use the questions to help me think through details. they + the list were very helpful.

the thing is when you’re neck deep in a project, you sometimes can’t think clearly. i speak from experience. and, lots of unclear, foggy thinking. it’s helpful to get opinions from teammates who are invested, but who aren’t slugging through the nitty-gritty details.

after the lead team responded, i used the list with my staff team to make one giant list of tasks for us to complete. we split those tasks amongst the team and were on our way.

the trigger questions that have been most helpful to my project:

  • Who needs to be informed as you go along?
  • What might affect timing?
  • How will you monitor the progress?
  • How does this relate to other priorities, directions, goals?
  • What policies & procedures will be affected?
  • Who would have concern about the success of this project?
  • Who needs to know how to do what?
  • What would make this project unique?

we’re launching the new classrooms this coming sunday, and i’m super thankful for these questions and the way they’ve helped guide us through the process. stay tuned this week — i’ll be posting on: designing our classrooms, communicating our classrooms, and staffing the new classrooms.

for today: how do you manage complex projects? share the love — and your resources!





About the Author

Amy Dolan is founder, leader and blogger for Lemon Lime Kids, a children’s ministry consulting company that seeks to encourage churches to consider a fresh approach to leading and teaching children. Amy started the company in 2005, as a way to empower and encourage fellow children’s ministry leaders, and since that first day has had the opportunity to work with leaders & organizations committed to the spiritual growth of children. Amy believes that the church fully empowered, combined with the commitment of the family, and the compassion of the community has the power to inspire children’s faith for a lifetime. In addition to her consulting work with Lemon Lime Kids, Amy leads the strategic curriculum development for Phil Vischer’s new curriculum What’s in the Bible? (, and serves as Director of LOCAL, a Chicago-area children’s ministry collaborative ( Amy is the former Executive Director for Children’s Ministry at the Willow Creek Association, a former Children’s Ministry Director at The Chapel in Libertyville, IL and a Curriculum Writer for Promiseland at Willow Creek in South Barrington. Amy is proud to be married to her husband Kelly, and loves living in Chicago. Amy blogs at and tweets at @adolan.