5 Things You Need to Monitor During Projects

ProjectManager.com

Learn how to monitor your projects by watching this video with Devin Deen, PM trainer. He discusses the importance of monitoring a project and how a project manager can better keep track by following these five steps.

In Review: Top 5 Project Tracking and Monitoring Tips

When overseeing a project, as Devin noted, everyone knows to keep the triple constraint of time, cost and quality in mind, but often they neglect the managing and monitoring of the external dependencies.

He gave an outline of the five things to follow to maintain a proper monitoring of the project:

  • Note the percentage complete
  • Maintain baseline dates
  • Keep an eye on the quality
  • Know your budget
  • Manage external dependencies

All of the above are key to effective project management. Devin cautioned that you don’t want to find yourself embarrassed in front of the steering committee, say, when you have to ask for more money to finish the project. That’s just one reason why monitoring is crucial.

Pro-Tip: When monitoring the quality of your project, there are many different ways to do this. You can apply peer reviews during the project or utilize health checks, which happen closer to the completion of the project. There’s also design review, testing scripts and test results. One bit of advice, don’t delegate this to your technical lead. As a project manager you must have a vested interest in the quality of your project.

Though Devin didn’t mention it in his discussion above, he knows from experience that resources on a project also need tracking. A healthy team is a productive team and a successful project. Elizabeth Harrin writes an insightful article on How to Monitor Your Team’s Health.

Thanks for watching!

 

Transcription

Hi. I’m Devin Deen, Content Director here at ProjectManager.com. Today we’re gonna talk about five things you need to monitor on your projects. Now everybody knows about the triple constraint of time, cost, and quality governing what you can deliver on scope but a lot of people forget about managing and monitoring the external dependencies. We’ll go through these four different no-brainers that everyone knows about and also I’ll highlight a little bit more about managing and monitoring your external dependencies.

Now, percent complete is something all project managers do just by nature of doing the status reports that are weekly, the daily stand-ups they have with the project meeting, the quarter, fortnightly, or monthly steering committee meetings but it’s really important to make sure that you monitor your percent complete.

It’s a good way to have your team own up to their estimates, take accountability for what they’re delivering and to make sure your meeting the stakeholder’s expectations in terms of functionality, also about meeting your deadline dates.

Another item to monitor is to make sure that you’re hitting your baseline dates. Now percent complete will tell you how far your project team is through it’s task, but it’s also important to keep a good eye on when those tasks are meant to be delivered and also, more importantly, when your package deliverables, such as a design document or maybe your system’s integration test plan are also due and when they are delivered.

It’s not good enough just to say that I’m 100% complete yet I’m two weeks late. You’re going to end up having a knock on effect for not being able to deliver on time to other components of perhaps a larger program of work. So it’s really important to keep an eye on hitting your baseline dates.

Next, quality. It’s no good to deliver something into production that is of poor quality and fails the day after. What would it be like if someone built a building with a [shonky] front door and they go over to hand over the keys to the new tenant or the new owner of the building and they can’t get through the front door. It’s not good. They hit it on time. It was 100% complete but the quality of that outcome was less than desirable.

So you’ve got to keep an eye on your quality. There’s many different ways to do that. You can do it through peer reviews whilst the project is underway. You can do it through health checks, which might occur a third of the way through the project and another third of the way through that.

Do it through design reviews, testing scripts and test results. There’s a good number of ways for you to make sure that you manage your quality on your project. Make sure there’s a PM. Don’t delegate that to your technical lead. Make sure you are keeping a vested interest in how the quality of your project is going.

Lastly, budget. Well, if you are managing percent complete, you are hitting your baseline dates, and the quality is fit for purpose for what you’ve been pulled in to do, then of course your budget should be on track. It’s not always the case, sometimes some tasks and project run a little bit hot, sometimes they run a bit low and a little bit lean.

It’s important as a project manager to make sure that you manage and maintain a good eye on the costs of your project and what your burn rate is against what you were expected. It’s always embarrassing when you go in front of the steering committee to go and ask for more money when they don’t know about it and you haven’t warned them about that particular change request that you have to do. Make sure you keep an eye on your budget.

Lastly, external dependencies. Now these are always something that come out of left field and you need to manage them very, very closely. The ones that will normally get you are the ones that are being delivered internally through an organization.

Let’s say another project team or another functional group has got a delivered to you a set of requirements. Well, if you give them a get out of jail card for not delivering to the dates that you asked for, you have a potential of having a knock on effect to either quality of your project, your own time, budget. You can see how that quickly explodes. Make sure that you manage those external dependencies as closely as you manage and monitor your project team. Don’t forget about them.

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