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Thursday, April 26, 2012

#009 - Project Planning 1.1: Project Tracking - Plan for it Now!

Project tracking is an important element of control on any project. During the project, you need to be able to measure and report on progress against project deliverables, and roll-up that information into higher and higher levels, until you often end up with a high-level dashboard for the Project Sponsor and other executives (red light, green light, yellow light). And in the long run, you need to be able to know when you have actually finished the project, and if you have succeeded in achieving the project goals.

Sounds straightforward, right? But as you probably already know, it is not quite so simple. There are many projects that do not track enough information, and others that track too much. All of this tracking requires effort, by the individual team members, their team leaders, the Project Manager, and those who receive the status reports.

Asking people to spend "overhead" time on activities like status reporting when they do not see any direct relation to what they are doing, and how it is used can be another big problem - if they do not see value in doing it, it becomes a "chore" that they would rather not do - so they may delay doing it, not do it at all, or worse, "fake it".

Sometimes all that effort results in only a cursory glance at the highest levels. So why bother with it? Or the information can become so disassociated due to poor structuring when it is rolled up that it becomes effectively meaningless. This problem can be a related to how you have structured your Project Plan, and also your approach to tracking. That, of course helps nobody.

So what do we track, how do we track it - and most importantly, how do we plan for it and what do we do with it?

In this session we will explore the essentials of Practical Project Tracking - what you will need to manage your project, satisfy the reporting needs of your stakeholders, and be able to tell, in the end, if your project was successful.
Listen or read the full article on Gazza's Corner (

Gary Nelson, PMP

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