How to Track Project Progress and deliver better projects

Project progress tracking is the process of monitoring the status of a project and documenting its progress. It helps project managers and sponsors identify risks, assess whether the project is on track, and decide how to address issues.

The PMI (Project Management Insitute) shows in its latest report that around 14% of the projects are failing, 43% of them are going over budget (Alarming! almost half), and 50% are not being completed on the expected date.

So, what do all these statistics have as a common factor? All of them can be mitigated or reduced by correct project progress tracking.

Hard part of tracking project progress

However, project progress tracking is not always easy.

  • First, not having a clear project plan: A project plan is a foundation for tracking progress. Knowing what milestones to reach can be challenging without a clear project plan. You cant set up your project progress report correctly if you dont have a plan. So, you need to have planned in a detailed matter before getting into the progress track

There are a few common challenges that can get in the way of effective project progress tracking, including:

There is a famous quote that says:


Benjamin Franklin quote

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

—Benjamin Franklin-.

  • Second, not setting up project tracking software or tools properly: If you’re not using project management software, you can use excel or any other tools. However, getting accurate data on project progress can be challenging if you are not good at using the software or template you choose. Please educate yourself well in a template or software to have better success.
A plan with a goal is important for correct project progress
  • Third, not communicating with project stakeholders regularly: It’s essential to keep all project stakeholders up-to-date on progress, especially if there are changes or delays. Otherwise, it can be challenging to maintain buy-in and support for the project.

Benefits of project progess tracking

  • Helps ensure project success: By tracking project progress, you can identify potential problems early on and make necessary changes to ensure the project stays on track.
  • Facilitates better project planning: With accurate project tracking data, you can more effectively plan future projects by understanding what has worked well in the past and what.
  • Maximize resources: knowing who is doing what, when it’s due, and the project status can help you optimize project resources and efficiently utilize your team’s time.

How to track project progress like an expert

I know some of the information above can be overwhelming. However, worry not now; I will give you some curated tips and tricks to manage your project progress report as an expert.

Beware, you might need to help some people in your office after this. 

1. Angular Stone of project progress: Goals

Imagine you have the best ship on earth (AKA: Team), and you set to sail. However, the captain did not set a goal or trajectory. Where will this ship end? You got it!

Establishing clear project goals is one of the most critical steps in project management.

In other words, without a goal or end vision, it’s impossible to measure success. When setting project goals, make sure they are SMART: 

S.M.A.R.T.
  • Specific, 
  • Measurable 
  • Achiveable 
  • Realistic
  • Timely

1. Teamwork matters:

Communication

Great work is always a result of teamwork, and project progress tracking is no different.

While project managers and team leaders are responsible for ensuring that tasks are completed on time, the team does the work. And just like any team, project teams need to communicate and collaborate effectively to get the job done.

2. Focus on communication

80% of project management is communication. Your reports need to be clear, relatable, and easy to read to be effective.

Visuals help

Make project management fun by incorporating visuals. Gantt charts are a project manager’s best friend. Use them to create stunning project reports that will wow your clients and upper management.

3. Use a curated tool or software. 

Project management software is designed to make your life easier. Utilize its features to stream (this is not strictly necessary, but I definitely recommend it.

Right project management software

Many of the tasks of project reporting can be automated to make your analytical work easier.

You can definitely use excel or other tools to do so, but it might be more labor-intensive. If you are on a budget, they are many free and paid tools I recommend. 

4. Optimize meetings and check-ins.

In other words, You need to find a sweet spot between contacting the team too often through meetings or not contacting them.

Figure out what works best for your project and team. Set up regular check-ins to ensure that everyone is on track and tasks are completed.

  • Keep an open communication policy.

This one is key for remote teams. Have an open-door policy when it comes to communication. Encourage your team members to reach out to you if something comes up that can’t wait or that needs special attention.

Key things to cover on meetings to improve your project reports.

5.Project status reports facilitate tracking project progress

Designing great and effective project reports to distribute the project status is critical to success.

To Make killer reports that reach and inform your project reports, should be sure that the project status reports are:

  • Accurate: Make sure you base your reports on official project sources and not a vineyard, hall talks, Slack, Teams, or any other chat. The information on your project report must be traceable and trustworthy. 
email list building
  • Insightful: Besides being accurate, your report should be deep enough to explain what is going great and what is not so executives and team members can make informed decisions based on the data. 
  • Actionable: The data that you curate should be clear enough that you can write suggestions or mitigating actions along with the report. 

4. Review & Reflect Regularly

Finally, make it a habit to review and reflect on project progress regularly.

Moreover, doing so will help to identify any issues early on and allow you to take corrective actions accordingly.

It will also help you track trends over time, which can help you make decisions about future projects.

Bonus – Important trick

Recommended tools to track project progress

If you are interested in getting project management software that helps you as a project progress tracker, I have a curated list that could help.

After more than 8 years in project management, I have used many project management software for general project reporting and project management. Here is my top. 

Project Progress FAQ

How do you track project progress?

There are many different ways to track project progress, but some common methods include using a Gantt chart, earned value management, and project milestones.

What goes into a project management progress report?

It depends a lot of the stakeholdes and the project itself but here you can have a general guide of a great report

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