You can plan a project, but if you don't have an efficient method to track it no matter how good that plan is it's going to run into trouble.
5 Steps to Better Project Tracking
But if you follow these tips on how to track your project, then you'll be able to act swiftly when you see an issue before it becomes a problem.
1. Focus on What's Important
The first thing you need to do is prioritize. You can't track everything, so decide what element of your project is most important. Talk to your team, get them input as well, for they'll be your eyes and ears on the frontline of the project.
But there are at minimum three areas of the project that are always going to demand close scrutiny when tracking performance. There's the budget, of course, and making sure you're not spending more than you've allocated. Make sure you're adhering to the schedule you set up. And don't forget the scope, make sure you're managing change effectively.
2. Create Targets
Now that you've prioritized, what do you expect the performance should be? For example, what is the resource utilization you want from each team member? How many risks will you allow to be tagged at any one time? How tight are you going to adhere to the budget?
Set your targets according to your goals. You can give yourself some flexibility. That's called "tolerance." It allows you to deliver a little above or below your target. So, the targets you create in this set are not points by ranges that are acceptable to you. You can also create a baseline, a snapshot of your project plan to look upon later as reference to your results.
3. Targets Should Have Metrics
The baseline comes in handy here as a way to check your actual versus estimated progress through the project. Comparing what you planned to how you executed that plan is the foundation of what project tracking is.
4. Always Be Reporting
Now that you've measured your progress, it's crucial that you share that data with the team, as they're the ones who are implementing the plan. They need to know what is working and what is taking the project off-track. Give them the key points to your data. Together you can create an action plan to address shortcomings and return the project to its right schedule.
5. Use Dashboards
Finally, customize dashboards to give you the information you need when you need it. This saves time and effort, and gives you a quick view on a single screen into the project, saving you from busy work.