Project Monitoring plays a vital part in project management as well as the project manager’s decision making processes.
However, it is a method often overlooked and only done for the sake of fulfilling the requirements of a project management plan. But if put into practice, project monitoring can help project managers and their teams foresee potential risks and obstacles that if left unaddressed, could derail the project. It clarifies the objectives of the project, links the activities to the objectives, sets the target, reports the progress to the management and keeps the management aware of the problems which crop up during the implementation of the project. It supports and motivates the management to complete the project within the budget and on time.
What is Project Monitoring?
Project Monitoring refers to the process of keeping track of all project-related metrics including team performance and task duration, identifying potential problems and taking corrective actions necessary to ensure that the project is within scope, on budget and meets the specified deadlines. To simply put, project monitoring is overseeing all tasks and keeping an eye on project activities to make sure you’re implementing the project as planned.
The process of project monitoring begins during the planning phase of the project. During this phase, it is important to define how the project success will look like and how the goals can be measured using KPIs (Key performance indicators).
Why is Project Monitoring important?
When project managers make important decisions without verified data, it is like taking a stab in the dark. Your decisions will be based on very little to no evidence, so the action may not be very efficient and could only be a waste of time and resources. Getting a PMP certification will help you grow and become a successful, object-oriented Project Manager.
That’s why it is important to monitor projects diligently and use the data you gathered to come up with intelligent decisions. Here are some questions answered through project monitoring:
- Are tasks being carried out as planned?
- Are there any unforeseen consequences that arise as a result of these tasks?
- How is your team performing at a given period of time?
- What are the elements of the project that needs changing?
- What is the impact of these changes?
- Will these actions lead you to your expected results?
Automated tools and technologies can simplify the tedious process of project monitoring. Most project managers have already adopted project management tools to delegate tasks and monitor their projects. However, project monitoring is a complex process and there are only a few project management apps out there that can support the project manager’s requirement to have laser-focus on individual tasks and team efficiency.
Types of Project Monitoring:
Project Monitoring can be attained via:
- Staff Meetings, which can be conducted on a Weekly, Monthly or an Annual basis.
- Partners meeting, Learning forums (FGD, Surveys) or Retreats.
- Participatory reviews by the stakeholders
- Monitoring and Supervision Missions that can be Self, Donor or Joint.
- Statistics or Progress reports
How to implement Project Monitoring and Control in projects?
The following are the steps to implement Project Monitoring and Control (PMC) in projects:
- Monitor the parameter of project planning: It requires the monitoring of project parameters like effort, costing, schedule, timeline, etc. It is the responsibility of a Project Manager to track such metrics while working on a project.
- Monitor Commitments: Being a Project Manager, you will have to keep track of the commitments of different stakeholders in the project. The stakeholders can include anyone: the team members, management, peers, vendors as well as clients.
- Monitor the Project Risks: It is important to keep a track of all the risks that might be involved with the project. There are various types of risks that can be involved in a project, including process, people, technology, tools, etc.
- Data Management monitoring: Keeping track of all of the configuration items, which includes software, hardware as well as documentation of the project.
- Monitoring the Stakeholder involvement: As a Project Manager, it is important that you keep track of how all the stakeholders are involved in the project. This can be done through different types of meetings, status reports, etc.
- Manage Progress Reviews: Conduct and manage the project progress reviews with the help of different techniques which includes the work progress of team members, client meetings, milestones reviews, etc. Based on these activities, various status reports are created, which are shared with the stakeholders as well.
- Manage actions to closure: Based on the progress of the project, it is important to take corrective actions to get control over the progress of the project plan. These corrective actions are then tracked by the Project Managers till the project closure or until the progress is under control.
Why Project monitoring?
Project monitoring aids various purposes. It brings out the problems which occur or which might occur during the implementation of the project and which demands solutions for smoother progress in the project. Effective monitoring helps in knowing if the intended results are being achieved as planned, what actions are needed to achieve the intended results during the project execution, and whether these initiatives are creating a positive impact towards the project execution.
To assess the project results: To know how the objectives are being met and the desired changes are being met.
To improve process planning: It helps in adapting to better contextual and risk factors which affect the research process, like social and power dynamics.
To promote learning: It will help you learn how various approaches to participation influences the outcomes.
To understand stakeholder’s perspectives: Through direct participation in the process of monitoring and evaluation, learn about the people who are involved in the research project. Understand their values and views, as well as design methods to resolve conflicting views and interests.
To ensure accountability: To assess if the project has been effectively, appropriately and efficiently executed, so that they can be held accountable.
3 Ways to Track and Re-Plan a Project
It is said that projects never go according to what we have planned. Hence, one must be ready to make any amendments as needed. You can also opt for the following three-step approach:
- Check and understand the progress of the project: Before starting to re-plan your project, you should be sure of the current state and status of the work. Setting up a meeting for the whole team together to get to know about the updates of the current work, upcoming tasks and issues will be beneficial. Also, recognize the important milestones in this meeting.
- Search for and Manage Exceptions: Stay on a look-out for exceptions like risks, issues and change requests. Open issues will have to be resolved so that roadblocks can be removed, and a risk mitigation plan will have to be developed.
- Re-plan the project: You have an idea of how to re-plan the project. The following steps will help you do so:
- Keep the important project documents updated, which includes the project charter.
- Share the new plan with the shareholders.
- As per the demand, re-assign the work. Communicate with the team members regarding the new assignments and send automated reminders to them.
- As required, make changes on the project site with the updates reports and dashboards.
Project Monitoring with KnightSpear’s AI Work Coach Isabella
KnightSpear has a practical way of helping project managers to monitor their projects and team’s performance. With the help of Isabella, KnightSpear’s AI work coach with machine learning capability, the information you need for project monitoring is handed over to you so you can spend less time gathering and interpreting data and more time taking action instead.
Isabella, the KnightSpear’s AI-enabled chat-box work coach, can process data within the app. Accordingly, they respond to the project managers with reports and suggestions on how they can manage tasks and keep his/her team engaged.
Here are some ways by which Isabella helps you with project monitoring.
Real-time monitoring of team performance
With automated task monitoring, Isabella can monitor how everything is going, including what the team is working on, which team members are stuck on a task or what other tasks need to be done to move forward with the project.
Regular status and progress reports
Isabella provides the duration summary of a task. It displays the amount of time the assignee has spent on a task and predicts how much more is needed to complete the entire project so you can identify existing issues and make timely adjustments to get things back on track.
Providing recommendations and suggestions
Isabella can estimate the percentage of project success or failure. She can also predict the probability of tasks going overdue or missing its deadline and provide valuable advice on how you can get the team to work together to prevent this from happening.
Ensuring that recommended actions are implemented
It’s important that the team is clear if there are any changes to the project plan. Isabella can remind the team of any over dues, hanging tasks and issues that need quick resolution so you can drive your team to the direction you are planning to take.
In conclusion, project monitoring is important in making the project management plan work to meet your project objectives. It is a part of the project and project management, not an addition to it. Given the data about the team, the project and the prediction of overdue, project managers can customize the project plan and address issues before they happen. With project monitoring, you can identify the most efficient way to manage your resources and continually assess your project status, so you can ensure your project success.