4 Tips on Monitoring Project Progress Effectively

25 May 2022

If you are a project manager, then your main responsibility is to supervise a project, making sure that each team member contributes and completes his or her assigned tasks.

A project manager is important so that the team is able to meet deadlines, especially the important ones. Before a project starts, a timeline is already set and it’s the project manager’s job to make sure that this is followed all the way through. There might be unprecedented changes but the end must still be met as planned unless the client itself asks for the due date to be moved.

Meeting the deadliest deadline and staying on schedule all throughout the project process can be done by monitoring the progress of the project.

In more technical terms, Indeed.com describes progress monitoring in project management as a “process of creating project plans, setting goals and periodically analyzing results to determine the progress of the project.” This includes analysis of performance data, requiring each team member to submit a progress report, and reviewing it afterward.

Progress is also monitored to assess if some goals need adjustment. You can quickly respond to problems when progress monitoring is implemented effectively. So basically, progress is monitored to make sure that each team member accomplishes each of their assigned tasks and that all of the objectives of the project are met in the end. It also serves as a record for project managers to make sure that the project is finished by the set deadline, communication among all members is constant, resources are enough, and tasks are being finished.

Project managers have different work dynamics, of course. There are many ways as to which they monitor the progress of their teams. While the process is different based on the nature of the project and the different personalities that make up the team, there are unchangeable elements of an effective progress monitoring system. We listed down below the steps on how one can take charge of a project and monitor its progress from start to finish.

1. Make a blueprint of the project.

Basically, what we mean is to make a detailed plan on what the project will look like and how it’ll be moving forward. This can be the sole work of a project manager but we know that it works much better if the plan is a collaborative effort among all team members. Each one will be asked what works best for them so that everyone is heard and all concerns and factors are considered. The project plan includes the scope of the project, what resources are available to you and your team in order to execute your goals and objectives, who will do what, and what deadlines to follow. From here, it’s much easier to draft a timeline that will list down all the tasks included in the project complete with dated deadlines. Indicate the team member assigned for each task so that everyone in the team is in the know about one another’s responsibilities. You can also include the names of which team member is assigned to each task to help keep everyone on the team aware of their responsibilities.

Write down the objectives of the project as well as your key performance indicators to know how the progress of the project will be measured.

There are many project planning software programs or apps that are now available so that you can oversee the project’s overview. There are project managers who use Gantt charts to help have an illustration of the main tasks and time frame to follow. Other pertinent details can also be shown using a bar chart. It’s at your discretion what your project plan will look like to best suit the nature and objectives of the project.

2. Make sure your goals are clear when starting the project.

Goals are important to motivate each member of your team. They need to know the purpose of what they’re doing in order to stay motivated and focused as well as make sure that they are doing the right thing. Most project managers set goals that are SMART or specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. This will create a goal list that is quantifiable and can be broken down into each detail. Make sure as well that each team member has a clear understanding of all the set goals. You’ll measure the project’s progress according to goals met and key performance indicators. Goals can be adjusted accordingly.

3. A check-in schedule must be worked out by everyone on the team.

The team must be in agreement on when their progress will be checked. This schedule must be regular and everyone’s schedule must be considered. Different projects will of course entail how frequent check-ins will be. A short-term project may need to be checked more than once in a week while a long-term project can be checked once every month.

Note that the check-in schedule shouldn’t constrain the freedom of each team member wherein they might just feel annoyed by constantly having to do reports. It should be a balance of allowing them to have the freedom to work in their own way and at pace but also at the same time, making sure that the project is on schedule.

Every check-in should be a chance to check the progress of each team member and to check what problems or challenges they are encountering so far. You can devise a strategy together on how to address these problems.

4. Have a record of all data and analyze all progress reports.

Analysis should follow check-ins right away. The project manager can determine the project's progress by analyzing all the reports submitted by each team member during the check-in. To make it easier for the project manager, and more organized, you can prepare a template for progress reports that each team member will follow. In this way, they can provide everything that you need from them to determine their progress. Collecting all data should also involve a clear process that everyone in the team will abide by. Data collection is followed by recording wherein you’ll just select the key information from everything that was provided to you. You can make use of project management tools or even something as simple as a spreadsheet to determine the progress that you have made so far.

Bonus Tip: To help the members of your team meet their goals in the most efficient way possible, equip them with the right tools. You can provide each of them with ergonomic furniture that will help promote good health, make them more focused and alert during work time and also give them a comfortable working experience.