Project data is a powerful tool that Project Managers need to learn how to handle. Gathering it is only the beginning. The success of the project lies also in monitoring the relevant findings and observing the relationships between them. How then to decide what parameters are worth observing? Read on to find out!
Project monitoring – table of contents:
- Budget – monitoring of resources
- Scheduling – meeting deadlines
- Level of performance – quality control
- Control – parameter ranges
Regardless of the management method applied in a project, one of the Project Manager’s primary tasks throughout the project is to monitor its progress. Without clearly defined parameters and evaluation criteria, one can’t determine whether the project is moving toward the right goal at the right pace. What parameters to observe to spot potential problems as soon as possible, and to take advantage of opportunities that arise?
Budget – monitoring of resources
In almost all projects, budget is the most essential observed parameter. Therefore, the Project Manager should monitor all aspects of task funding, among others:
- labor costs,
- purchase or use of tools and equipment,
- expert consultation,
- trips and participation in industry events.
To monitor expenses, it is easiest to use software, for example, Firmbee. Then all deviations from the set budget are immediately visible. However, it’s not worth putting too much weight on a one-time overspend. It’s better to assume a margin of error for objectives or milestones. Then you can offset the higher costs of one task with savings in another area.
Agile project management methods work particularly well in flexible budget management. According to the Pulse of Profession 2021 report titled “Beyond Agility,” they keep as many as 64% of projects within the assumed funding framework.
Scheduling – meeting deadlines
The second key area is to see whether the project keeps to the established timeframe. Here too, the software proves handy as you can check not only the team’s progress in real-time but also generate reports. It is also worth employing proven time management techniques.
Above all, remember to watch the relationship and interdependence between tasks. If coordination matters, you need to ensure that the deadline is met and that the tasks maintain the right order.
Level of performance – quality control
Controlling the quality of the tasks is somewhat more difficult to monitor than the budget and schedule for their implementation. This is because it is difficult here not only for standardization but also for unambiguous evaluation criteria.
When planning to monitor the level of task performance, it is worth distinguishing between two parameters used in the Scrum methodology:
- Definition of done, and
- Acceptance criteria
The definition of completion refers to the quality of a task’s performance, that is, whether all the technical requirements placed on it have been met. Acceptance criteria, on the other hand, is a list of expectations placed on it by stakeholders.
The difference between meeting the definition of completion and meeting the acceptance criteria can be illustrated by the example of a house under construction. It meets the definition of completion when the walls have been bricked sufficiently evenly and the investment has been accepted by the construction manager. However, the house may not meet the expectations of the builder, who expected the walls to be perfectly even and the color to be as in the brochure.
Control – parameter ranges
Just as important as monitoring specific parameters is determining their ranges, in other words, answering the question, “How much deviation from the norm should cause concern?”
Due to the differences in the requirements of organizations and stakeholders, as well as the individual needs of each project, it is difficult to talk about deviation recommendations. However, whether it’s 10 or 25 percent, during project planning it’s a good idea to set specific, values with stakeholders that will only end up with additional meetings and hectic, spontaneous actions.
Monitoring a project helps make sure it is on track to meet its goals. We discussed the key areas above: budget, schedule, performance, and parameter ranges.
There is no simple recipe for a set of parameters that will optimally describe every project. However, in most projects, efficient extraction of these basics will allow tasks to be completed on time, within budget and at the required level.
Getting started with project management:
- What is a project?
- What is project management?
- How to manage projects?
- Project management methods
- Types of projects
- 4 examples of projects
- Prioritization of projects
- Areas of project activity
- Definition of success in project management
- Why use project management software?
- How to choose the best project management software?
- Overview of project management software
- Project life cycle
- What is the project vision for?
- Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
- Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
- The domain of planning in project management
- What is a project schedule and what is it for?
- How to use milestones in a project?
- Project execution
- How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
- Importance of project closure
- Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
- 4Ps of management: project, product, program and portfolio
- Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
- Most useful project manager skills
- How to become a project manager?
- 5 books every project manager should read
- How to set up a project team?
- Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
- How to lead a team during hybrid work?
- Challenges project managers face when working with a team
- Types of project meetings
- Project monitoring. What parameters to watch?
- How to write a compelling
- How to define the scope of a project and avoid scope creep?
- Feasibility study – can we implement this project?
- Risk analysis in projects and tools to facilitate it
- How to create a project charter?
- What is a stakeholder register?
- Gantt chart in project management planning
- How to create a project budget?
- Time management in project
- How to create a project risk register?
- Project risk management strategies
- Project marketing
- Sources and areas of change in the project
- Project management change models
- What's after Agile? Methods in project management