Your projects will be changing from day-to-day, so you need to monitor progress to make sure you’re on top of everything. If you don’t keep a close watch on progress there is a chance that your project will go off-track and you’ll fail to complete it successfully. The trick is to make progress tracking really easy. If it is straightforward for you and the team, then you’ll be able to monitor progress with a few clicks. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Create your plan
You can’t monitor progress unless you have a plan to monitor against! The first step, then, is to put together a comprehensive project plan. Work with your project team to create a task list that covers all the work that you need to do on your project.
When you know what tasks are involved, you can enter them into your online project management software, arrange them in the right order and create links between tasks if you need to.
Step 2: Baseline your plan
Take a snapshot of your plan in its current format. This is called a baseline and it gives you something to compare to later, if your schedule changes. You can create baselines at any point during the project. It is a good idea to save one at the beginning of the project and then to take another one after any major revision to your plan.
Step 3: Enter progress information
Your team members will now be making progress on their project tasks, so ask them to keep the software up-to-date by recording their progress online. As they enter the time spent on a task in their online software, you can immediately see the impact on the project plan.
Step 4: Analyze the results
Compare the progress you were expecting with the actual progress that the team has made. You can do this easily in your software by looking at views that show you actual versus planned progress to date. You can also see how much time has been spent on any individual task and the amount of time spent on the project overall.
Step 5: Produce reports
Use reports to display your progress data in different ways. This is a good option if you want to share your project progress information with team members or your project sponsor. You can produce reports in a number of formats so that everyone gets the information they need in a way that suits them. Reports are a very useful way of quickly seeing if the project is on track. Set up some template reports to make life easier and to ensure your progress data is presented consistently with every project.