As a project manager, your job is to monitor project progress every step of the way. However, when there is a team working on your project/s, it can be hard to keep track of how things are progressing. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for monitoring the daily progress on projects. This allows you to see if there are any issues with your project along the way and adjust as necessary, preventing your project from deviating the planned course. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 simple tips for monitoring the daily progress on your projects.
Tip #1: Create a Project Plan
The most important step to monitoring the daily progress on projects is to sit down with your team even before the project starts. Create a collaborative plan during this discussion. In your plan, outline the goals for your project. Having a plan in place and knowing exactly what each member of your team is in charge of will give you a frame of reference when checking in on the project. During the meeting where you create your project plan, ensure to discuss the following:
- A projected timeline for the project’s completion
- A budget for the project, segmented by pieces of the project (or different phases)
- A plan for which team members will be in charge of varied portions of the project
- A list of goals and a plan for measuring the success of your project
Once you have a project plan in place, make it easily accessible to your team. You can use Google docs or Confluence for this purpose. Then, there can be no miscommunications about what you and your team had decided on for a plan. A dedicated plan keeps everyone on the same page.
Tip #2: Plan Daily Check-Ins
Once you have a project plan in place, schedule daily check-ins with each member of your team. As a project manager, it can feel strange to officially put these brief check-ins on your calendar. However, doing so gives your team members a sense of structure.
Dropping by and asking how a project is going can lead to team members feeling like they’re doing something wrong. They may become defensive or forget key things to mention to you. Having check-ins scheduled, on the other hand, makes it feel like part of the daily routine. It even gives your team members the opportunity to plan for their check-in, making them more likely to remember to discuss any issues that have cropped up since the day before.
During each daily check-in, make sure you ask:
- How much time have you spent on the project so far?
- How much progress have you made since yesterday?
- Where are you ahead of schedule?
- Where are you behind schedule?
- Are you ahead of or behind the projected budget?
Tip #3: Discuss Goals and Project Progress
Once you have completed daily check-ins with every member of your team, it’s a good idea to send out an uplifting email where you highlight the project progress the team has made so far and any goals your team is working on. A daily email summarizing team goals and progress ensures that every member of the team feels included and understands how the plan is coming together holistically.
Tip #4: Communicate Expectations
To keep your team on track and motivated on a daily basis, make sure to communicate your (realistic) expectations on a daily basis. After your daily check-in, explain how you feel they’re making project progress, bring up any concerns that you have, and discuss where you expect them to be by the end of the next day and by the end of the week. Help them set priorities if necessary. If they have fallen behind schedule, help them manage their work and discuss a plan to get back on track.
Tip #5: Update Your Plan Regularly
It’s almost impossible to accurately predict exactly how your project will progress the first time you create your project plan. As the project progresses and your timeline changes, you’ll want to update your project plan.
An updated project plan will help you communicate an accurate timeline and budget with your supervisors. It will also help you refocus your team members if things get off track. No one likes to feel like they’re permanently behind schedule. New project plans can bring the whole team back on track together. Be sure, that this plan is updated in the same place it was created initially. There should always be a single source of truth to avoid confusion. And importantly, tools like Google docs & Confluence come with automatic versioning. So all your changes can be traced back any time.
A good project manager is an organized project manager. Your job is to understand the big picture and ensure that all of the pieces are coming together well. The best way to ensure that level of nuanced understanding is to meet with your team members regularly and stay apprised of their workload. Then, if you come across major issues with how the project is progressing, you can nip them in the bud early on.