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What Is Project Tracking?
Project tracking is the official software or spreadsheet you use to monitor all aspects related to your project. Just like a project status report, the project tracker dashboard helps calculate the project’s budget, identify the challenges, recognize the milestones, and keep every project on schedule or as planned. So instead of having to use different resources to track a project, at least the project tracking system lets you use one source of data only, which is very convenient.
According to Statista’s 2018 research survey, only 69% of respondents were able to meet the planned goals and intentions of their projects.
Why Should You Use Project Tracking?
Whether a project is big or small, getting enough input about its progress is essential to any business. Otherwise, a well-thought-out project proposal might have not succeeded in actuality. And even with just one project tracking document or software, you can gather as much data as you like from the project’s advantages, status, challenges, and other elements. Also, the data recorded there will be useful to every project manager, project member, and stakeholder since they are fully updated with what is going on with a project from start to finish.
Furthermore, project tracking is important considering that in 2018, a survey confirmed that only 69% of respondents met their planned goals and intentions for their projects. So for your next project, do not let your wonderful goals go to waste. Monitor them regularly instead with a project tracking system to boost your success rate. Thankfully, all the data to record would enable you to create wiser decisions for a more effective project. Hence, avoid basing on assumptions about a project’s status and track them regularly instead.
The Essential Elements of a Project Tracker
Considering that businesses have different goals and purposes for their projects, it is safe to say that every company has a special format and structure on how they process their project tracking scheme. But if you need help on what particular elements make up a standard project tracker, you can definitely ace it by having the following parts:
What Are the Common Advantages of Project Tracking?
Project tracking consists of various advantages. But some of the most noteworthy benefits are the following:
Builds a Unified Team
When the project manager, project members, and stakeholders all have access to the project tracker, all the instructions and updates given by the system will help build a united set of team. Gone are the days where some team members follow dated instructions while a few did the correct tasks because everyone now follows from the same source, which is the project tracking sheet or software.
Also, project tracking tools help everyone make smarter decisions since the spreadsheet observes transparency from the whole project’s strengths, weaknesses, status, and other factors. And giving detailed and transparent data is just what everyone needs for more precise and accurate decisions to all items of project lists out there.
Sends Project Status Awareness
When every person concerned about the project gets updated about the status of every single project, it gets easier to locate possible issues that might hinder the project’s success rate eventually. So don’t wait for problems to get worse when you could have solved them early and prevent the worst-case scenario.
Prevents Project Failure
Lastly, project failures least likely happen with a project tracking spreadsheet. Now that you have all relevant and essential records about the project on hand, you become more confident about the outcome of your project eventually. Just keep on monitoring the project status and project assessment report for continuous improvement until you are good to go.
How to Prepare a Project Tracking Document or Spreadsheet
Now that you are properly introduced to what project tracking is, how important the process is, its advantages, and even its crucial elements, it is time to master the most important part which is to make your personalized project tracking spreadsheet or document. Not to worry because you won’t go empty-handed as here are the six basic steps for you to create your project tracking worksheet:
Step 1: Make the Project Outline
First things first, prepare your project outline. Planning the project before it even starts is the practical way to go. Remember that this outline is your official guide on how to handle the project. This includes writing the action list, setting the timeline, noting the deliverables, visualizing the milestones, and other examples to keep the project on track. And a tip is to document all the possible project requirements so you got enough references for the upcoming project.
Step 2: Aim to Set SMART Goals
Are you familiar with SMART goals? This refers to making specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals for your project. And they are crucial to ensure that the project you are trying to achieve is even realistic in the first place. For example, you can’t make a very long and complex project and expect it to be done in a day. Or perhaps, you can’t expect high-quality results with almost a zero budget for the project. This should be the part where you verify the scope which stakeholders want to know and even how to manage possible issues to meet in the process.
Step 3: Use a Sample Project Tracking Template
Once you are through with the project outline and SMART goals, you can proceed to check out every sample project tracking template listed above this article. This is your best opportunity to avoid making a project tracking worksheet from scratch. Important details are already premade and you can even change the format, design, and content afterward. The same goes for downloading and printing as many samples as you want. And don’t forget to complete the significant elements of a project tracker from the real-time data down to the alerts and notifications, as previously discussed.
Step 4: Meet with the Team Members
Inserting the elements of the project tracker into your template means you are almost finished in the process. But don’t forget to add other categories and elements if you know of any relevant data your project might need to monitor. After that, set an appointment schedule to meet with all the project team members, including the manager and stakeholders. During the meeting, you introduce to them the project tracking sheet so they would know what to make use of such a document. Next, help motivate them to finish the project because the success rate definitely increases in keeping them engaged with their tasks.
Step 5: Be Strict with the Schedule and Deadline
In a project tracker, you have to be rigid in terms of following the work schedule and deadline. Of course, a clear project schedule should be implemented so the project eventually progresses. The problem with some projects is when there are highly impressive plans yet there is no clear statement regarding the timeline of when to do its tasks. Thus, always set deadlines and stay on schedule, especially when the project tracker should take note of the project status per time too.
Step 6: Update the Tracker Regularly
Once you are done with the project tracker, your irrevocable responsibility is to update the document or software on a regular basis. Indeed, many project trackers are automated but someone should still monitor them for accuracy. Without a thorough review or evaluation, chances are the tracker gets littered with errors. Hence, log on to the tracker for the project’s current status or any observation worth taking note of about the project. Rest assured, you will depend on that document from time to time.
What are the main divisions of a project tracking report?
It is known that a project tracking report should contain at least six divisions. And these are the project information, status information, project summary, milestone review, issues or risks, and the project metrics.
What are some tips to conduct an easier project tracking process?
You can definitely master the project tracking process by observing these useful tips:
- Set a communication plan among the project team.
- Keep track of the targets with a metric system or any other way to measure them.
- Go for a simple project tracker so you won’t make things complicated.
- Observe high standards for the project to produce top-quality results.
- Always have a sense of verification for everything you report.
What are the five stages of project management?
In a project tracker, it only makes sense to apply the five stages of project management for successful and effective results. And these are the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure.
A single project may comprise tedious task lists, numerous activities, and important files; thus, making the process quite challenging. And this is why you need a streamlined project tracking system where all data can be collected in one project management tool. With project tracking, you can monitor projects right from the planning process down to the project’s completion. Start measuring your next project’s status regularly with sample project tracking templates to keep you on track now!