4 Best Practices to Track Your Projects

4 Best Practices to Track Your Projects

The more you work in the project management industry, the more you get to know that there’s a saying in this world that applies to everything, which is, “You can’t manage something if you haven’t measured it yet”.

The way that this saying applies to the project management paradigm is that how would you know whether your project is doing good or bad if you don’t measure the project metrics from kick-off to completion of the development process?

But what do you track in the whole process and how do you do it?

To do that, the market is full of some of the most amazing project management software that can provide you with detailed reports about all of the metrics that you want to track. But one thing that you have to remember is that you have to be extremely purposeful in how you track them.

That means that you have to widen your search net by capturing simple performance metrics at the start and comparing those results to the performance metrics you gather later. You also have to identify the communication and success goals for the whole team and how you can measure them.

What are the Basics of Project Tracking?

Project tracking is one of the top project management methods that is used to track down the progress of tasks lined up in a project. When you track your project, you can easily compare the plan with the actual progress. Moreover, identify the issues that may prevent the project from staying over schedule and within the budget. 

The basic key to project tracking is the use of project tracking tools and project management techniques. Such as, a Gantt chart allows the project managers to track down project processes by providing an overview of tasks, workload, and milestones at any point of the project life cycle.

Some other forms include status reporting that can gather extra details that offer further insight into deliverables, risk, and performance. This data can be easily distributed to the project team and stakeholders to keep them updated.

When it comes to tracking your project task and activities, you need to focus on three different metrics:

  • Is it going to be completed on time?
  • Is it going to be completed within the proposed budget?
  • Is it going to deliver value to the company?

The key thing that you have to do is to look for different entries and reports about small metrics whose results support the development of these 3 bigger metrics. This will help you track the project and gain value from it.

The 4 Best Practices to Track Your Project

1. Use an Efficient PM Software

project_management_hero

Just as using a financial application to track all of the numbers and figures regarding your company is a good idea, using efficient project management software like nTask helps you track all of the tasks and activities regarding your project when you input the budget and the schedule.

When you first start the input process, it might take up a lot of time and effort but it’s so worth it in the long run when the project will start to take shape and generate value. This input data helps you predict the whole life of the project which you can see through different status dashboards.

The way it all works is that you input all of the budget and costs into the management software and the relevant dashboards, native to the software, quickly display all of the metrics and their results, letting you know how you have been doing throughout the project.

2. When Selecting your KPIs, Be Selective

Key performance indicator

Unless you’re a stupendous enterprise that doesn’t care about the money they spend to track every one of its KPIs, you need to be careful in your selection process.

Tracking these KPIs is a herculean task that requires a fortune, so you should follow these tips to help you make smart decisions. They are:

  • You need to meet all of the relevant stakeholders that can help you figure out what the actual benefits the company is hoping to take, from the results of the project at hand.
    This will help you figure out which KPIs are going to help you measure the progress towards these milestones.
  • You have to choose those KPIs that you can easily measure to achieve success. This is why you need to eliminate all of those KPIs that you don’t have the resources to track.
  • You need to make sure that the KPIs list that you make, is distributed to all of the stakeholders involved, to get their feedback and validation.

3. Determine Baseline and Target Goals

Project Baseline

Doing the last step perfectly is an amazing start, but how would you that the numbers you are currently tracking are even good or bad? Well, you do that by determining your targets and setting up your baseline.

The first thing that you do that you start with the most basic three pillars related to the project which are schedule, budget, and scope.

The more projects your team is currently working on, the better. Why? Because they can use all of the project data from the previous work done by the team and drum up very accurate expectations for the current project.

Once you have collected all of the data about these three pillars, and all of the concerned stakeholders have approved them, you need to put them under change control.

What is that? Well, change control will make sure that these numbers can not be changed without the approval of the stakeholders themselves and without proper reasoning as to why they should be changed in the first place.

Learn how to create a project budget: 

Your Go-to Guide to Creating a Project Budget in 2022

4. You Need to Establish a Plan to Control Troubled Projects

Troubled projects

You can have all the information you need via the fastest supercomputer on the planet, but none of it will be considered at all useful if you don’t do anything with the information you receive.

As we know that if you select the most important KPIs and track them through the project management software at your disposal, it will let you know things start veering off track.

But one thing that the software can’t do is control the budget and tell your team what they have to do. You have to do all of that as a manager.

Most of the software that presents themselves in the market nowadays, have been troubled ones at least once in their lifetime and it’s up to you to fix these projects when they are troubling the company. To do that, you need to follow these three tried and tested approaches:

  • Encourage an early problem tracking system that will let you know if things start to escalate
  • Address all of the troubles concerning the project systematically
  • Enable an effective project termination sequence that helps you get out of tight spots where the company is susceptible to burning the budget and their valuable resources

FAQS

1. Is project tracking important for your business?

Project tracking, when done right, helps every part of the business to run much more smoothly. It allows your team to focus on the work that matters, free from all the distractions caused by tasks going off track or the budgets spinning out of control. 

2. How do you monitor project performance?

Here are a few steps to track down project performance for any task, including,
1. Create a plan or an outline

2. Set goals and achievable deadlines

3. Evaluate the reports

4. Make required improvements to the task

5. Collect the data and manage expectations 

3. What should a project tracker typically include?

A project tracker must have the following things:

  • Ability to create deliverables and milestones
  • Set realistic and measurable goals
  • Use a project tracking software such as nTask to keep track of time and costs
  • Meet regularly with team and stakeholders
  • Support transparency in tracking

4. Who is responsible for project tracking?

In the broadest sense, project managers (PMs) are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of specific projects for an organization while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget, and within scope. 

Conclusion:

Since project management itself is more of a paradigm, there are a lot of other variables in play. Of course, it is not easy to detail each and everything in one write-up. If you have been affiliated with the PM industry in any capacity, we’d like to hear from you. Feel free to use the comments section below, or write to us at fwilson@ntaskmanager.com.

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