How To Monitor Progress

Updated June 24, 2022

Project managers are responsible for helping plan projects and working with team members to complete tasks. Monitoring the progress of projects can help make sure that projects meet important deadlines and stay on schedule. Knowing how to effectively monitor project progress can help you ensure that your tasks are completed successfully. In this article, we discuss why monitoring progress is important, and we explain five steps that you can follow to monitor progress in a project.

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What is project progress monitoring?

In project management, progress monitoring is a process of creating project plans, setting goals and periodically analyzing results to determine the progress of the project. Progress monitoring can include analyzing performance data as well as reading employee progress reports. Additionally, progress monitoring can also include adjusting goals when necessary. The goal of progress monitoring is to make projects more likely to be successful by keeping them on schedule and quickly and effectively addressing any problems that arise.

Read more: 5 Ways To Achieve Goals in the Workplace

Why is it important to monitor progress?

It's important to monitor the progress of your projects to help ensure that your team completes them successfully and achieves all of the important project objectives. Progress monitoring can be useful to both members of the project team as well as the project manager. Good progress monitoring can help employees stay focused on the project and solve any problems that come up over the course of the project. Additionally, progress monitoring can help project managers keep the project on track, communicate with the project team and monitor important project components like resources, tasks and deadlines.

Read more: FAQ: Project Management Basics

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How to monitor progress

You can develop your own process for monitoring project progress by incorporating a few key components. Here are five steps that you can follow to monitor your project's progress:

1. Plan out your project

The first step to monitoring the progress of a project is creating an outline or plan for the project. You can collaborate with your project's team members to create a plan that works for everyone. In your project plan, you can include the project's scope and important elements like resources, tasks and deadlines. Additionally, you can create a timeline for all of the project's tasks with deadlines. You can also include the names of which team member is assigned to each task to help keep everyone on the team aware of their responsibilities.

In your plan, be sure to include your project's objectives and key performance indicators that you can use to measure its progress. You can also use project planning software or templates to create an overview of your project. Many project managers plan out projects by creating Gantt charts, which can illustrate a project's main tasks, timeframes and other important information in a bar chart format. You can choose the type of project plan that best fits your project and your team members.

Read more: How To Create a Project Management Plan

2. Set clear goals for your project

Another important step in monitoring progress is setting goals so that each team member knows what they're working towards. You can use the SMART method to create clear goals for your project. SMART goals are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-based

Using the smart method can help you to create detailed, quantifiable goals that your team members can clearly understand. Additionally, setting deadlines for project tasks and objectives can help keep the project on schedule. Once you have set your project goals, you can begin measuring your project's progress in relation to your goals and key performance indicators.

Read more: How To Write SMART Goals (With Examples)

3. Create a steady check-in schedule

You can also create a schedule for regular progress check-ins. The frequency of your check-ins may vary for different projects. For example, a short-term project might require more than one check-in per week, but some long-term projects might only need check-ins on monthly intervals. It's important to create a check-in schedule that balances checking in enough to keep your project on track while giving your team the freedom to work without giving you constant reports.

Once you've determined the best check-in schedule for your project, be sure to let your project team know when check-ins are scheduled to take place. During each check-in, compare your team members' progress to your key performance indicators and record data on your project to track its progress. You can also use check-ins as an opportunity to communicate with your project team and help them address any challenges they are facing, which can help make your project successful.

4. Record and analyze data

After each progress check-in, you can analyze data to help you gauge the overall progress of the project. There are many ways that you can gather data, including organizing meetings where team members can report their progress or creating a process for team members to prepare progress reports. You can choose a data collection process that is the most efficient for your team.

After you gather data, you can choose a method for recording it, including inputting key information into databases, spreadsheets or other project management tools. Then, you can analyze your data to determine how much progress you've made on your project and find areas that need improvement.

5. Make changes to your goals if necessary

Based on your progress monitoring, you can reevaluate your project's goals and decide if you want to adjust them or change your plan for achieving them. For example, you might decide to extend a deadline if you notice that your team is struggling to keep up with a certain task or if an important step in the project has been delayed. Additionally, if your data shows that your team is ahead of schedule, you could also change your goals to reflect this, allowing your team to complete the project sooner.

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