Search

5 Steps to Better Project Tracking

You can plan your projects exceptionally well, but things may not always happen as planned and that can cause your projects to derail. This is where project tracking and monitoring proves invaluable in overall project management. Time tracking in Project Management provides the project team and stakeholders an understanding about the project health and highlights the areas of concern on the project. If you follow these steps on how to track your project, then you'll be able to think proactively and deal with any issue before it becomes a problem.                                                       Fig: Process Flow Of Better Project Tracking 1. Prioritize It is very important to plan and prioritize the work effectively in order to make the most of your time and effort. According to Pareto Principle, 80% of the effect of your work will come from 20% of the work you do. As a Project Manager, you need to be smart with your time and focus on important things. You can’t track everything; there simply aren’t enough hours in a day; so decide what element of your project is most important and critical. Project scope, milestones, budget and resources are the most important components that a PM should focus on while tracking the project. These demand a close scrutiny, since they help you determine the performance of the project. It’s very crucial to keep tabs on your upcoming milestones and monitor them since these are the deliverables which your project stakeholders will keep asking you about. Then there’s budget, of course for you to ensure that you aren’t spending more than what’s initially allocated. And scope to avoid any scope creep and manage changes effectively. 2. Set measurable targets Now that you have prioritized, what do you expect your project performance should be? Performance measurement starts with setting targets or goals and assigning KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which are measurable. While setting KPIs for each target, it is also essential to anticipate how the achievement of the target will be tracked. The foundation of project tracking is comparing what you planned to how you executed that plan. A baseline turns out to be useful to check the actual versus estimated progress throughout the project. Create a performance measurement baseline (combination of scope, time, and cost baseline) with realistic targets, which will represent a standard to measure project performance. Changes in any project are inevitable and can drastically impact a project; hence controlling the baseline is very crucial for project success. 3. Report to stakeholders: Your success as a PM can be determined a lot on the way you deliver your reports. They need to clearly and concisely answer the questions that stakeholders have about the project.The project stakeholders need to know what is working and what is taking the project off-track.The PM should ensure to conduct team meetings on a regular basis. Regular tracking and monitoring enables to identify potential problems as early as possible so that timely adjustments to project plans can be made before moving forward. For instance, if it looks like the upcoming milestone may be missed;the stakeholders must be immediately alerted.   4. Use dashboards: The key to any successful project is efficient communication. But communicating with sponsors, stakeholders, team members and other project related parties can take up quite a lot of a Project Manager’s time. A dashboard always comes handy when it comes to expressing a project’s status in a crisp yet effective manner.A Project Management Dashboard often provides at-a-glance view of project performance KPIs in a format that conveys project’s overall progress and highlight particular problems that require further attention. They can be customized to give you the information you need, when you need it, hence saving your time and effort. 5. Recommend actions for improvement and follow-up: This is most important activity in project tracking. As a Project Manager, you should think of and recommend actions that will offer the greatest dividend in terms of keeping the project running smoothly, efficiently, and on-time, after taking feedback from the management. Recommendations could be corrective actions, preventive actions, or changes in the plan or the project execution. Ensure that you provide specific guidance, assign a responsible team member and direct him to perform a specific action by a specific date, and make sure they are slated to report back on the results of their action. Also confirm that the recommendations are being followed, expected outputs are being created and the project as a whole is on track.  
Rated 4.0/5 based on 20 customer reviews

5 Steps to Better Project Tracking

1K
5 Steps to Better Project Tracking

You can plan your projects exceptionally well, but things may not always happen as planned and that can cause your projects to derail. This is where project tracking and monitoring proves invaluable in overall project management. Time tracking in Project Management provides the project team and stakeholders an understanding about the project health and highlights the areas of concern on the project.
If you follow these steps on how to track your project, then you'll be able to think proactively and deal with any issue before it becomes a problem.

Process Flow Of Better Project Tracking
                                                      Fig: Process Flow Of Better Project Tracking
1. Prioritize
It is very important to plan and prioritize the work effectively in order to make the most of your time and effort. According to Pareto Principle, 80% of the effect of your work will come from 20% of the work you do. As a Project Manager, you need to be smart with your time and focus on important things. You can’t track everything; there simply aren’t enough hours in a day; so decide what element of your project is most important and critical.

Project scope, milestones, budget and resources are the most important components that a PM should focus on while tracking the project. These demand a close scrutiny, since they help you determine the performance of the project. It’s very crucial to keep tabs on your upcoming milestones and monitor them since these are the deliverables which your project stakeholders will keep asking you about. Then there’s budget, of course for you to ensure that you aren’t spending more than what’s initially allocated. And scope to avoid any scope creep and manage changes effectively.

2. Set measurable targets
Now that you have prioritized, what do you expect your project performance should be?
Performance measurement starts with setting targets or goals and assigning KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which are measurable. While setting KPIs for each target, it is also essential to anticipate how the achievement of the target will be tracked.

The foundation of project tracking is comparing what you planned to how you executed that plan. A baseline turns out to be useful to check the actual versus estimated progress throughout the project. Create a performance measurement baseline (combination of scope, time, and cost baseline) with realistic targets, which will represent a standard to measure project performance.
Changes in any project are inevitable and can drastically impact a project; hence controlling the baseline is very crucial for project success.

3. Report to stakeholders:
Your success as a PM can be determined a lot on the way you deliver your reports. They need to clearly and concisely answer the questions that stakeholders have about the project.The project stakeholders need to know what is working and what is taking the project off-track.The PM should ensure to conduct team meetings on a regular basis.

Regular tracking and monitoring enables to identify potential problems as early as possible so that timely adjustments to project plans can be made before moving forward. For instance, if it looks like the upcoming milestone may be missed;the stakeholders must be immediately alerted.
 
4. Use dashboards:
The key to any successful project is efficient communication. But communicating with sponsors, stakeholders, team members and other project related parties can take up quite a lot of a Project Manager’s time.

A dashboard always comes handy when it comes to expressing a project’s status in a crisp yet effective manner.A Project Management Dashboard often provides at-a-glance view of project performance KPIs in a format that conveys project’s overall progress and highlight particular problems that require further attention. They can be customized to give you the information you need, when you need it, hence saving your time and effort.

Project tracking

5. Recommend actions for improvement and follow-up:
This is most important activity in project tracking. As a Project Manager, you should think of and recommend actions that will offer the greatest dividend in terms of keeping the project running smoothly, efficiently, and on-time, after taking feedback from the management. Recommendations could be corrective actions, preventive actions, or changes in the plan or the project execution.

Ensure that you provide specific guidance, assign a responsible team member and direct him to perform a specific action by a specific date, and make sure they are slated to report back on the results of their action. Also confirm that the recommendations are being followed, expected outputs are being created and the project as a whole is on track.
 

Surabhi

Surabhi Sawardekar

Blog Author

Surabhi is a Planning Engineer working in PMO at a reputed construction company in Mumbai. She holds a degree in Civil Engineering from SPCE, Mumbai and is a certified Project Management Professional at a young age.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

Whether it is the IT or non-IT industry, a successful project always depends on a highly competent project manager. An adept and proactive project manager helps the teams in becoming consistently productive and accountable for their tasks and responsibilities. Nowadays project management is a highly pursued job title. Any professional aspiring to be a project manager can greatly benefit from working in this role. This is not only because of the lucrative salary but also because a lot of skills can be acquired after being certified as a project manager, like knowing how to plan, schedule, budget, execute, deliver and then report on the business projects. Here are some of the top certifications in project management that companies are looking for, presently:1. PMP®: Project Management Professional Project Management Professional (PMP)® is one of the top-level project management certifications and is globally recognized as the gold standard in project management. By being PMP® certified, you can work in any industry with any methodology irrespective of the situation. This certification includes all the top necessities required to test your knowledge and skills in managing the project "triple constraints", that is time, cost, and scope.Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:Eligibility RequirementFour-year degree or global equivalentA secondary degree or global equivalentYears of Project Management Experience3 Years (36 months)5 Years (60 months)Hours Leading & Directing Projects4,500 Hours7,500 HoursHours of Project Management Education35 Hours35 Hours2. CAPM®: Certified Associate in Project Management Another certification governed and accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® lays the foundation stone for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. CAPM® is perfect for professionals who want to move steadily into the project management field. Individuals who do not possess a college degree or have no/minimal experience in the field can also apply for this certification. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:A minimum of 23 hours of project management education before the examination. The minimum educational criterion to go for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification is a high school diploma certificate or any global equivalent form of education.3. CSM®: Certified Scrum MasterEver since agile methodologies have become the standard in most industries, especially the IT sector, Certified Scrum Masters have been in high demand. Despite various Scrum master certifications being available in the market, the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)® from the Scrum Alliance is a great way for aspiring project managers to start as Scrum practitioners. Scrum Alliance® offers this CSM® credential and is a non-profit organization that promotes the concept of adopting Scrum and agile practices. The organization globally has 450,000 plus certified practitioners. Accreditation body: Scrum Alliance® Eligibility criteria: There is no set of eligibility requirements to attend this Scrum Master Certification course and it can be taken by freshers or professionals who want to:Extend their careers in project management.Strengthen their grasp of Scrum.4. PMI-RMP®: Project Management Institute-Risk Management ProfessionalNowadays it is normal for any undergoing project to face risks at every stage, thus affecting its execution, success rate, and the final result. This requires planning the project by detecting potential risks, both threats, and opportunities, taking actions to reduce threats, and increasing opportunities.  The Project Management Institute-Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® credential affirms that Risk Managers know the best way to identify project risks and lessen threats while making the best of available opportunities. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either Secondary degree (high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent) 4,500 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 40 hours of project risk management education Or Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) 3,000 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 30 hours of project risk management education5. CompTIA Project+ certificationTraining in the CompTIA Project+ certification will enable professionals to learn and implement common project management principles and important soft skills such as team building, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, setting, and managing expectations. CompTIA's Project+ serves as a primary-level project management credential.Accreditation body: CompTIAEligibility criteria:There are no strict prerequisites, however, according to CompTIA, a candidate should have at least one year of experience managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects.6. PRINCE2® Foundation/PRINCE2 PractitionerAccredited by Axelos, PRINCE2® is a de facto standard that describes project management standards and assists in forming consistency among projects. It began in the UK and then applied it to its government entities. Famous across Europe and now countries in the middle and far east, many industries have adopted these standards and gained impressive results. As a result, PRINCE2® Practitioners are sought-after for their knowledge of applying this framework on projects. There are two key certifications: PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner Certifications. The Foundation certification is an entry-level credential, testing basic project management terminology and methodology. On the other hand, the Practitioner certification tests advanced project managers who have already achieved the PRINCE2® Foundation.Accreditation body: Axelos Eligibility criteria: PRINCE2® Foundation Certification: There are no eligibility criteria for the PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Exam. However, it is recommended to possess basic project management knowledge.PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification: To get certified with PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification, applicants must have one of the below-mentioned certifications:PRINCE2® Foundation Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director) IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager) IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager) IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)7. PgMP®: Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification Training This certification is created and administered by the PMI® and is the next step, after achieving the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification. PgMP® is for professionals who coordinate and manage multiple projects aligned with strategic objectives. This includes directing and managing complicated activities that may extend over functions, organizations, cultures, and geographies.With the PgMP® certification, professionals will strengthen their grasp in the six prime focus areas of program management such as Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management. Thus, certified PgMP® professionals will be able to encourage teams to integrate and coordinate multiple projects in a better way. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either:A four-year degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.OrA secondary diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Candidates not meeting the above criteria can also consider the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. 8. APM™: Associate in Project ManagementThe Associate in Project Management (APM)™ certificate is an entry-level certification in Project Management and is a globally recognized credential. Governed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®, the exam covers 50 Multiple Choice Questions out of which the candidate requires to get 70% (35 out of 50 correct) to pass the 60-minute exam. Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:No formal education or experience required. 9. MPM®: Master Project Manager The Master Project Manager certification is issued by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)® and is ideal for both project managers and professionals with business and technical responsibilities. Accreditation body: American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)®Eligibility criteria: Three years of project management experience and training. 10. PPM™: Professional in Project ManagementProfessional in Project Management (PPM)™ course is organized by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®. This is a mid-level certification that consists of project management components showing how to plan, execute, control, and complete projects as well as training to perform better.  Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:Completion of a mandatory E-Course Candidates should have a certain project management experience. ConclusionAlong with the abovementioned project management certifications, it is recommended that professionals apply principles in their current professions, be on the lookout for newer methodologies and upskill regularly.
Rated 4.5/5 based on 0 customer reviews
2886
Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

Whether it is the IT or non-IT industry, a success... Read More

Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessarily follow just one project management methodology. They learn all of them so that they have the awareness to deploy the right methodology for the right project. According to industry experts, project management methodologies are vital to project success. A recent study by PMI confirmed that about 89% of the project professionals believed that their organizations implemented some project management practice or the other.What is a project methodology? It’s a blueprint that shows how tasks and projects can be planned, managed, and executed, right from start to finish. It includes a combination of practices, techniques and procedures followed by project managers. Why choose a project management methodology? A recent survey published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the lack of time was the major hindrance to collaboration within project teams. Since projects are fast-paced and must adhere to deadlines, collaboration is quintessential. This is where, adopting a project management methodology comes to play. Projects are incredibly fast paced with competing deadlines, hence collaboration is the best way to keep the team engaged, heighten productivity and save time in the long run. Practicing a methodology is a great way to boost collaboration as well as deliver project success. Top 7 project management methodologies Below are the top 7 methodologies in the project management landscape today: 1. Agile According to a KPMG survey, 81% of enterprises had adopted Agile in the past 3 years. The most favorite methodology, Agile is actually a set of principles involved in software development. However, it’s hailed as a project management methodology for its flexibility and capability to build processes. Agile projects have a series of tasks that are initiated, executed and adapted based on ad hoc demands, rather than a pre-planned process. Hence, Agile is apt for dynamic environments where the unpredictability factor is quite high.  2. Scrum Scrum is the project management methodology that enables a small, cross-functional, self-managing team to deliver results quickly.  It helps boost communication, teamwork and speed of the processes. Terms like sprints, scrums, backlogs and burndowns are commonly used in scrum methodology. Scrum is ideal for environments that handle complex products.  It advocates the use of a small, cross-functional teams of upto 9 people who work on items in a backlog that have been clearly defined and prioritized by a Product Owner. Work is categorized into “sprints”, a development cycle of usually 2-4 weeks. During these sprints daily “Scrums” take place where the team report on their daily progress and impediments. At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review meeting to determine together with the Product Owner if it clears the Definition of Done (DoD). Scrum is further facilitated by a Scrum Master who leads the sprints, demos, reviews and ensures that the team is continually optimizing and improving. 3. LeanLean project management is the methodology that emphasizes the dictum of maximizing value while minimizing waste. In project management, it aims at creating most value with a minimum amount of resources, labour, and space. There are 3 ‘M’s in Lean: Muda refers to wasteful activities that consume resources without value generation, Muri refers to overutilization of equipment or employees and Mura which corresponds to operational inefficiency. Lean project management methodologies when practiced are capable of reducing these 3 Ms within the project process. 4. Kanban Kanban is a project management methodology that’s focused on Lean principles. Its primary focus is to increase efficiency. It’s an evolved version of Scrum. It’s flexible and not focussed on roles. It keeps the team focussed on what actually matters. It’s ideal for environments where priorities are changed frequently. The online tool Trello is based on Kanban. It gives an accurate visual depiction of the progress of work for the team and other stakeholders. It’s ideal in organizations that demand a consistent output. 5. eXtreme Programming methodology (XP)  eXtreme programming (XP) is also a software development project management methodology that focuses solely on development  while ensuring quality. It lays down the processes needed to improve software quality as well as meet customer requirements. It is quite similar to Scrum but differs in certain prescriptive processes. These processes include making compulsory user stories, Test Driven Development (TDD), Pair programming, and Continuous integration. 6. Waterfall  Waterfall methodology, also known as the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) values solid planning and doing everything in one shot unlike Agile. Planning and resource allocation are done in the beginning, work is executed in cascades. Like a waterfall. However, Waterfall is pretty rigid as it offers no scope to make changes to the plan unless absolutely necessary. Because of this approach, upon reaching the testing stage, it’s very difficult to go back and rectify mistakes. That could end up being quite risky. The many shortcomings of Waterfall approach is the reason why Agile methodologies gained acceptance worldwide. 7. PRINCE2   Created by the UK govt in 1996 for IT projects, PRINCE2 methodology is controlled project management practice which divides projects into various stages with their own set of plans and processes to follow. It’s an excellent framework that can be applied mostly in the large projects. It lays down the need for the project, identifies the target audience and whether the project is feasible.  A PRINCE2 Practitioner often oversees the team in these projects and ensures that the team has the right resources and guidelines to conduct the project as well as mitigate risks effectively. Ultimately, choosing the right project management methodology is based on the project and business environment. When chosen appropriately, these methodologies can play a major role in project success. Learn more about project management methodologies like these from our series of immersive workshops.
Rated 4.5/5 based on 0 customer reviews
Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessa... Read More

Feasibility Study in Project Management and Its Benefits

Before giving the go ahead to launch a project, the first thing on a project manager’s agenda is the feasibility study. While project managers are not required to conduct the feasibility study themselves, they use it as a guideline to drive the project, and to get an end-to-end understanding of project parameters, business goals and risk factors.What is a Feasibility Study?A feasibility study is an analysis done to determine the viability of a project from an economical, legal and technical perspective. Simply put, it gives us an insight into whether a project is doable or worth the investment.A feasibility study that’s well-designed should offer insights on the description of the project, resource allocation, accounting statements, financial data, legal requirements, and tax obligations. It helps to determine whether the project is both possible and profitable for the company to undertake. Hence, this study is mandatorily done before technical development and project execution.Types of Feasibility Studies Basically, there are five types of feasibility studies based on the area that is examined:  1. Technical FeasibilityThis study takes stock of the technical resources available to undertake a project from an organization’s perspective. It includes ensuring that the technical resources are adequate, and the hardware and software requirements are met. 2. Economic FeasibilityThis assessment performs a cost/ benefits analysis of the project before the financial resources are allocated. This type of study gives a clear-cut idea of project credibility as well as the economic benefits to the organization from the project. 3. Legal FeasibilityIn this type of feasibility study, the legal requirements of the proposed project are analysed. A number of parameters, ranging from zonal laws to data protection acts are checked, and compliance mandates are mapped out. 4. Operational FeasibilityThis study will help analyse and determine whether the organization’s goals can be satisfied by completing the project.  5. Scheduling Feasibility This is the most important assessment for project success. It estimates the time span necessary to complete the project after considering the organization’ s capabilities, and determines whether that amount is time is available. Benefits of A Feasibility Study Below are the benefits of doing a feasibility study in project management: Get a clear-cut idea of whether the project is likely to be successful, before allocating budget, manpower and time. Enhances the project teams’ efficiency and focus  Helps detect and capitalize on new opportunities Substantiates with evidence why and how a project should be executed Streamlines the business alternatives Diagnoses errors and aid in troubleshooting them Prevents threats from occurring and helps in risk mitigation Gives valuable insights to both the team and stakeholders associated with the project Steps to conduct a feasibility study The following stages are involved while conducting any feasibility, in general: A preliminary analysis: The is like a pre-screening of the project. It helps discover the viability of the project as well as identify any roadblocks, if any. Scope definition: This step includes outlining the project’s scope as well as its potential impact on the organization. Market research: This is an essential factor, as no project is begun without adequate market research. A thorough analysis of the existing market and competition is done to manage the project accordingly. Financial assessment: In this stage, all the costs related to the project, including equipment, man-hours, the financial risks and the benefits associated with the project are scrutinized. Alternative solutions: Whenever any hiccups arise, the team should be well-prepared to come up with a solution. This is an integral yet dynamic part of a feasibility study. Go/no-go decision: The final stage of a feasibility study is the course of action, in other words whether the project is worth proceeding with or not. The feasibility study is an integral aspect of project management. Well-planned projects are less likely to fail. A detailed, well-defined feasibility study will only increase the likelihood of project success. To explore more concepts in project management like these, sign up for any one of our immersive series of project management workshops here.
Rated 4.5/5 based on 0 customer reviews
5317
Feasibility Study in Project Management and Its Be...

Before giving the go ahead to launch a project, th... Read More

Useful links