This article discusses how project management allows project managers to carefully monitor progress toward specified outcomes. It is part of the importance of project management series.
Why Monitor Progress?
How do you know where you are if you haven't been paying attention, and you don't know where you are going? The importance of project management is so clear - is that it allows project managers to know exactly where they are with respect to specified outcomes. Metrics have become so vital to the success of a company's goals, that there are various methods of obtaining these important figures. If you do not keep track of where you are, you could go over budget, you could be way late in delivering a project, or worse, you could be completely off course altogether.
When projects are carefully monitored for progress towards specified goals, they are more efficiently executed. Productivity (another very important component of running a company) goes up, the budget goes down, and the client is satisfied with an on-time delivery.
How does Project Management Monitor Progress?
One of the core phases of the project lifecycle is project monitoring. This is done through the use of Gantt charts, time tracking, meetings, and the use of action item or task management methods. Status reports are another key component of project monitoring. In fact, monitoring progress is built into the very definition of project management. While it takes time to initiate and plan a project, once the execution phase has begun, the project manager can then do what she does best: Make sure everything runs smoothly and according to plan.
While project management software is useful in the planning stages, its primary function is to assist the project manager in this very important function. Through careful project monitoring, she can see exactly at which point the project is falling astray. Things that should regularly be monitored are:
- the actual start and finish dates of tasks
- the actual cost vs. the estimated cost
- resource allocation and workloads
- progress on deliverables