It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new or experienced project manager — your goal is to successfully complete a project. But before doing that, you must track how the project is progressing.
The best way to do this is to find a consistent and effective way to keep track of a project, as it will be easier to predict whether it will be completed successfully or to course correct before something goes wrong.
In this article, we’ll explain project tracking, the problems you might run into when tracking multiple projects and how to keep track of projects at work.
What is project tracking?
Project tracking is a project management technique that monitors the progress and status of tasks in a project. It helps project managers provide accurate project status reports and show the progress made compared to the original plan.
Additionally, it helps them understand which major tasks and milestones have been completed and whether the project will be completed on time.
In short, project tracking enables project managers and stakeholders to see what has been accomplished thus far, which tasks remain, which roadblocks have been encountered, and what resources are required to overcome them.
Problems managers face while tracking projects
Managing multiple projects simultaneously without a plan can lead to burnout and missed deadlines.
As a result, it’s important to identify any issues that may arise during the process to overcome them and produce results successfully.
So, we’ve put together a list of the most common issues that can arise when managing and tracking multiple projects simultaneously.
- Project overload: It's critical to consider workload when assigning the right people to manage multiple projects at once. Project overload problems may arise if, for example, three people are assigned a workload that requires at least six people. This will impair performance and raise stress levels within the team. As a result, the deliverables' quality will suffer.
- Undefined project priority: When working on multiple projects at once, it is often necessary to prioritize them. But decision-makers often confuse important with urgent and end up with very outcomes.
5 strategies to track and manage projects efficiently
These five strategies will show you how to keep track of your projects and ensure that you complete them on time, even during uncertain situations.
Develop a plan
Whether you are managing a single project or a group of projects, you must create a project plan for each one separately. Only then will you be able to keep track of project activities and provide a clear work scope to your team.
The project plan includes the following things:
- Project requirements: Schedule a meeting with all stakeholders to collect requirements collectively (no one-on-one meetings).
- Project scope: Define the scope of your work and exclude anything irrelevant.
- WBS (Work Breakdown Structure): Break down a project into smaller pieces so you can create a budget and timeframe for each task.
- Schedule: Helps in estimating how long a specific task will take to complete a project.
Prioritize your projects and tasks
When managing and tracking multiple projects at the same time, prioritizing your work is an excellent strategy that saves you valuable time and effort. Here are some steps that can help you successfully define a priority project.
- Focus on the results: When deciding on project priority, keep the long-term goal in mind and the results the projects are going to get your organization. Important projects give your organization long-term results and are more important than urgent ones. So, ask yourself the objective of each project and the returns you’ll get from them so you can concentrate on the right project.
- Create a system to prioritize projects: If there are ten projects to prioritize, the decision-maker should number them from one to ten, with one being the least important. Furthermore, when determining a priority project, consider which projects are dependent on the others, as a dependent project can begin only after a predecessor project has been completed.
- Delegate your work: Depending on the project priority, you’ll need to delegate your work to external or internal resources to complete important projects without missing deadlines. For example, if you’re assigned two tasks: one that’s important and urgent and another that’s important but not urgent, you’ll delegate the second task to someone else and monitor its progress to complete both tasks on time.
Use a creative collaboration tool
If you’re working on multiple projects, it’s impossible to keep track of everything from the beginning to the end.
- Analytics dashboard: Stay abreast of project performance and make decisions quickly with easily accessible graphs and charts on project progress.
- Workflows: Splits the project into different tasks and stages so the team can complete it without getting overwhelmed
- Custom checklists: Create a list of items the designated team member should complete to finish the tasks. For example, if a reviewer has to proofread your social media copy, you can create a checklist to include the things they should look out for to ensure that your content stays on brand and compliant.
Adjust to change
As a project manager, you are likely aware that changes in project management are almost unavoidable, especially if there are multiple ongoing projects at the same time.
And without a change control procedure, you will lose control over your work, and projects will fail as a result.
So, decide what you must do to stay on track in case your project’s priorities have shifted. Assess the problems you may come up with and determine if you’ll need to incorporate changes to your work scope, budget, or timeframe.
Hold regular meetings
Meetings are necessary to check in with everyone and see how the projects are progressing. So, hold weekly company meetings to make everyone aware of who is working on what. If you have a smaller organization, you can also hold biweekly one-on-one meetings to track progress.
Here are a few golden rules for holding effective and productive project update meetings:
- Set meetings only when updates are required.
- Distribute a meeting agenda.
In order to save time:
- Establish a time limit (and keep track of how much time you spend in the meeting).
- Keep it brief and to the point.
- Don't forget to send meeting notes/to-dos to everyone involved afterward.
Project tracking ensures that you adapt to changes quickly and complete multiple projects on time without getting your team burnt out.
The best way to keep track of your projects is to develop a plan, set up project tracking systems to view progress, prioritize your projects, adjust to change, and hold regular meetings with your team members.
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