Once you’re done planning a project, then comes the ‘doing’ part where you carry things out as discussed. But, once you’re into the doing mode, don’t forget to occasionally pause and check up on things, just to make sure that everything is going as expected. We’re talking about tracking the project progress. You don’t finish things first and then track the progress. Both things go simultaneously.
In this post, we will talk about some ways in which managers can successfully track project progress. So, let’s take a look -
1. Use a good tracking tool - Project tracking software are available that are supposed to help out the managers in estimating the project progress. The software crunches the numbers, processes the data derived from actual project execution, and presents to you a spectrum of various possibilities. It outputs numbers reflecting how the progress is being made, or whether you’re heading in the ‘impossible region’ where the project can never be successful.
2. Conduct regular meets - What better way to track progress than to ask the people who are involved in the doing part! Pick a day of the week, and ask everyone to come prepared with how much progress they made in that period. If your project relies mostly on remote work, use an online collaboration software for conducting online meets as a replacement of physical meets.
3. Stick to the critical path - An efficient project manager will never underestimate the value of recognizing the critical path and sticking to it. It is common knowledge that a project comprises hundreds of tasks, but not all of them are given equal importance. Some tasks are more crucial than others, deviating from which can cause huge setbacks and delay things. Use a project tracking software with gantt chart to see if the team is sticking to the critical path and how far along things have come.
4. Have a common file sharing tool - The benefit of a file sharing tool is that the relevant parties can see the progress as and when it happens. Instead of making enquiries every time something is accomplished, they can see for themselves how and when tasks get done. That way, clients and managers will end-up doing less monitoring and more viewing. Not only file sharing tools promote visibility and clarity of work, they also maintain transparency that helps in identification of problems early.
5. Conduct post project reviews - Also known as retrospectives, these reviews help teams reflect on how things went and document all the critical findings. It involves writing down the successes, as well as the factors that made them possible. That way you have a framework to repeat those successes in the future. Not just successes, it’s about documenting the failures too along with their reasons. So that the same failures can be avoided in the future.
Those were some tips on how managers can better track project progress. Are there some ways that you personally recommend for the same? What tools do you use to track a project? Don’t forget to tell us in the comments below!
Sharon Thomson is a project management expert and writer. Through the years she has written about a myriad of project management topics and has successfully managed countless projects on her own. A big believer in ‘work smarter, not harder’ philosophy; Sharon keeps including her own personal lessons in her writing from time to time.