You’re going blind if you don’t have project tracking. These best practices will help you regain control.
You realize that there is a saying for everything, especially when it comes to project management.
For example, the phrase “You can’t measure what you don’t measure” has been cited in over a million PowerPoint presentations. It even graced the Twitter account former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t fix it: http://t.co/ZiIXllCRgd cc: @BloombergDotOrg #philanthropy
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg), January 21, 2014.
This quote is Peter Drucker, a management thought leader’s unambiguous endorsement of project tracking.
Let me try something different, but it is still a catchy way to express the message: How can you track key metrics and know how your projects are doing between kickoff & completion? You don’t.
You can’t just start projects and spend millions to find out if they’re successful. You need to track them while they’re still in progress.
But what are you supposed to track and how can you do it?
Although project management software can provide transparency and oversight into project performance, you must be intentional about how you use it. This means that you need to capture baseline performance metrics to compare with later performance, identify and communicate goals and how success will measured, and track a limited number key performance indicators (KPIs), to gain actionable insights.
Project tracking basics
Three things are important when it comes to project tracking:
Knowing what to look out for throughout the project’s life is key to determining if you are on track to finding satisfactory answers.
Here are 4 ways to keep your projects on the right track
According to the 2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession report almost 10% of all dollar spent by companies goes to poor project performance. Companies that follow the following four best practices for project tracking will save money, improve project quality, and deliver projects on time and within budget.
1. Use your project management software
Once all financial data has been entered, accounting software can be a great help to business owners. Project management software can make tracking your projects easy once you have entered the correct data about your budget and schedule.
Although it may require additional work upfront, it will save you considerable time over the course of the project’s life with project status dashboards.
Here’s an example of how to set up dashboard widgets in Wrike to track almost any project according to our Top 20 report.
Dashboard Widgets in Wrike Source
Once you have completed the groundwork and entered data (e.g. your project budget and costs), the dashboards will quickly show you how you are doing throughout the project’s life.
Here’s an example dashboard showing task status and issue status, timesheet summary and milestone status, budget status and overdue items in Zoho Projects.
A dashboard showing multiple statuses for Zoho Projects (Source).
This article focuses on tracking success metrics such as scope, schedule and budget, business goals, customer satisfaction, and business goals.
2. Be selective when setting KPIs
Unless your company is a large enterprise with unlimited resources, you won’t be able to track every KPI.
According to a blog post by Villanova University:
“Each project manager has different objectives. Metrics that work well for one company might not work for the next. It is important to tailor metrics and reporting to the needs of your business.