One of your roles as a Project Manager is to constantly track progress and make sure that everyone is working on the right tasks.
To help you do that, you need to ensure that your project schedule is up-to-date at all times. If your schedule gets out-of-date, you will be asking people for status updates on tasks that have potentially been completed or are no longer relevant and you’ll lose your grip on what’s going on. Instead, take these 5 tips…
Tip 1: Use dashboards
Dashboards offer you a helicopter view of everything that is happening on your project. They are a great way of getting a general overview about what is happening on your project. Dashboards can display lots of information in graphical format, so you can see all the latest schedule data at a glance.
Tip 2: Use Project Tracking Charts
Use the Project Tracking Charts to get a more detailed view of the progress that is being made against the project schedule. These charts enable you to drill down into the detail if you identify a potential problem or if something that looks a bit odd. They take the time out of identifying the issue, giving you more time to properly investigate the root cause. Then you can identify what needs to be done to put the problem right, and update the schedule accordingly.
Tip 3: Enter data in real time
Encourage your project team members to enter their progress data in real time. This is easy to do with online software, as they can access it from anywhere. One of the biggest causes of out-of-date schedules is that someone in the team hasn’t updated their tasks.
Make sure that everyone knows how important it is for them to record their progress accurately and to enter their data as soon as they can.
Tip 4: Look out for changes
Changes, risks and issues can all have an impact on your project schedule. When you get a new change request, or a new risk or issue is raised, take the time to analyze it thoroughly and see what impact it will have on your schedule. Then update the schedule taking into account the new information.
Tip 5: Update your schedule frequently
Put a note in your calendar to review your schedule regularly. This could be every day (especially if you are at a critical point in the project) or less frequently if that suits the needs of the project. Check in with project team members, get updates on actions and risks and make sure that the project schedule reflects the latest situation.
If you update your schedule regularly and turn it into a habit, then you avoid having to do a big update every couple of weeks. This can be far more time-consuming than little updates every day or so.