Projects: How to Track and Manage Them
Want to learn how to track and manage your projects? Watch the following video and see the six most important things that I do in all of my projects
Hi. I’m Devin Deen, Content Director here at ProjectManager.com
How to Track and Manage Your Projects. Now here are six things that I do in all of my projects.
First off, project meetings, very important way of getting your entire project team together. Whether physically in the same room or virtually through a web conference, it’s really, really critical to get the entire project team together at the same time, talking and sharing ideas, sharing frustrations, giving each other updates on where they’re at in their various tasks and dependencies between the project team members, and also bringing them together to illuminate any additional issues or risks that you need to track and manage, get actionees, and ensure that those risks end up not getting you.
Now, whether you have them weekly or on a daily approach, like you do a daily stand up for agile, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re having a time on a periodic basis where the entire project team gets together either in the same room or on a conference call or a web meeting.
Next, individual catch ups with the team. Vital. You got to do this as a project manager. Take the time out during your week to go and interview each of your project team members. From 5 minutes to 15 minutes, it doesn’t matter how long it is. It’s important though that you do reach out and touch each and every person on a one-on-one basis. Get them to share with you how things are going from their perspective. You’ll be quite amazed at how many things come up one-on-one as compared to that group meeting when you’re doing your project meetings. Make sure you take the time to meet with each of your team members one-on-one during the week.
Next, collaborative contribution to issues and the risk registers. If you’ve got a risk register and issue register online, where people can continuously add to that and update what’s happening in the issues or risks in a online fashion either through GoogleDocs or if you’re using ProjectManager.com, got a great issues and risks register in that one, it’s a really important idea for your team members to, throughout their day and throughout the week, start updating and sort of giving you the status of each of those issues and risks. It’s important for them to collaborate and share information about that together. Online form is the best way to do that.
The next thing I do is ensure that I’ve got timely completion of timesheets. Now, this takes a bit of discipline from the project team to get into the swing of things of getting their timesheets done, either on a daily basis, if that’s what you are asking, or at least on a weekly basis. But it’s important discipline for them and behavior to actually do that on a routine basis. An indication that you might have a little bit of a quality issue in your project team or maybe having your task slip is if you got your project team members who are routinely not getting their timesheets in on time. Once again, it’s a leading indicator that you might have some issues, and that’s why I ensure that all my project team members complete their project timesheets on time.
The next thing is timely updates with the tasks. So at the same time that they’re doing their updates on the timesheets, they should be updating you on the tasks, where they’re at, what issues they might be having, and where they need some help. They can do this on a daily basis, maybe through an email to you, or in the individual timesheets themselves. When they do it, you might have a little comments box. I know on ProjectManager.com, you’ve got that feature. But it’s important that they do timely updates on tasks.
Once again, those that aren’t updating you, it’s an indication that they might have some quality issues. They might hit some frustrations or obstacles that need your help and need you to look into. So ensuring that the behavior in the project team is such that the norm is completing a task update on time will give you an indication where there might be a problem when that task update doesn’t happen on time.
Lastly, weekly status report. Now, you as a project manager doing that weekly status report gets the opportunity to reflect back on the previous period and think back on the things that have gone wrong in that week or they have gone right in the week and how that might influence and impact the tasks ahead.
It’s important for you to make the time to do that status report because you get to reflect back on the project. You get a chance to reflect back on the scope, on the deliverables, on the dependencies budget, and it’s a great opportunity for you just as a project manager to think about the project. Many times we’re out there always executing, executing, executing and don’t have time to think about the future and what we’re doing on a project. When you’re taking the time to do that status report, that’s your time to think about the future of the project, what might come out to get you, how do you avoid those obstacles and proceed on that project.
When you finish your weekly status report, guess what? Time to start again. Back to your project meetings.
Now, an important thing to remember is you get what you inspect, and by using these steps, it allows you to inspect and reflect on your project, help you monitor and control it to achieve the outcomes that you and your stakeholders are expecting.
Use our software to apply these techniques on your project. Come try us out at ProjectManager.com.