Success in managing projects is impossible to reach without having an effective progress tracking process in place. Project tracking lets executives and teams gain insight into current performance, understand existing issues, plan for corrective actions, and report on work status. Experienced project managers prefer using project tracker software that provides standard and powerful customization tools for progress reviewing and project management.
Project Tracking and Monitoring Process
In a broader sense, tracking means a process of following and monitoring something closely for gaining a better understanding of how things are being in progress. When we track something - for example our daily work - we want to know whether we perform at expected levels and what things in our work can be replaced or corrected for improvement purposes.
The same idea is behind project tracking. When a project manager monitors a project, this executive closely reviews current work progress to understand why current performance is better or worse than expectations, what things require improvement, and what actions can be taken to achieve this improvement. Basically, because the project manager has to act within the principles and best practices of a methodology (e.g. Scrum, Extreme Programming) or standard (e.g. PMBOK, PRINCE2) employed in managing the project, this professional plans out the tracking process according to this methodology/standard. Then other projects managed under other project management approaches will be tracked and reviewed in different ways, according to those approaches. Anyway, project tracker software is a must-have in managing and reviewing any kind of project.
Why Track Projects
The ultimate goal of monitoring and tracking a project is to put actual work progress against the plan so that it will be easier for the project manager to understand what issues and risks hamper project development and what corrective actions can be taken. The tracking process lets monitor data backups to evaluate team performance and generate status reports for senior management and stakeholders. With help of project tracker software teams can review project data and track the latest updates made to work progress. In CentriQS, project tracking can be done in multiple ways. As an example, you can create and lay out a dashboard that displays project data on a single screen.
How to Monitor Projects
As said, each methodology offers a specific approach to project reviewing. For example, Agile teams review results obtained on a daily basis within brief iterations. Iterative product development makes it possible to keep team performance sufficient and aligned with the requirements of each release stage. In contrast, traditional project managers prefer monitoring their projects at the end of a phase, paying not much attention to daily team performance. The process "Controlling a Stage" of PRINCE2 method requires executives to review the current situation at each stage together with on-going risk management and change control. The so-called "waterfall" approach promotes predictability and forecasting as the basic tools to ensure expected performance, so the tracking process generally checks current performance against long-range project forecasts and predictions The following graph demonstrates the different approaches to project monitoring.
Meanwhile, there are several best practices of project tracking that can be applied to any methodology.
- Progress Review. Project managers review regular timesheets against assigned tasks to understand current work progress and make updates to schedules accordingly.
- Issue Tracking. Project teams make issue logs and submit them to management for analysis and further action planning. This activity lets executives develop and take corrective actions prior to an issue impacts project performance.
- Risk Management. By reviewing contingency progress against identified risks, project managers measure risk impact and recalculate risk exposure accordingly. This activity helps understand whether existing risk mitigation measures are effective and also create correct contingency plans.
- Status Reporting. Teams prepare status reports that highlight overall project progress, point out issues solved and pending, and specify actions taken to address risks and contingency.
What Project Tracker to Use
Project management is an extremely popular and important knowledge area in business, so the software market today offers a great variety of software products that help organizations plan, manage and track their projects. Some software development companies create and promote solutions that are tailored to specific project management functions. For example, some products are best for planning projects only, while other packages provide project tracker tools, and so on.
All-in-One Customizable Solution for Business Project Management
However, this approach narrows down the very idea of project management software - to provide a single customizable solution that lets address any challenges in managing projects. Apparently most business organizations would prefer using an all-in-one solution in solving project challenges, rather than juggling around multiple function-specific and one-sided packages. Such a solution would be a cost-effective investment in deploying project management customization and integration in business environments.
For example, the basic functionality of CentriQS features perhaps everything you need to manage your business projects. Tasks, schedules, files, permissions, users, groups, graphs, analytics, reports, full text search, templates and other features of the basic package lets you easily create and track project data in CentriQS database.
In case this package appears insufficient for you or you want to make the database tailored to your specific business needs, the software offers you powerful customization tools to address almost any business issue and integrate your project management process with other processes and workflows of your business. Customers, orders, personnel, invoices, documents, bugs, contacts or whatever else entities can be created and customized in the database. Moreover, CentriQS API will let you integrate the software with existing systems of your organization.