4 Solutions for Project Task Tracking

project integration management technical Feb 13, 2022
4 Solutions for Project Task Tracking

Mainly during project execution, the project manager must track the work accomplished.  Tracking may be essential if a project is large and complex, has many tasks that span more than a week, or is time-critical. 

As with all project management tools and solutions, the method employed should be scaled to the project.  For example, there is no need for a $20k software solution for a small, six-month project or a tool that will take valuable time away from straightforward tasks.

With this in mind, here are four solutions to consider if you are thinking about expanding your project task tracking.  While all four of these could be regarded as software solutions, three special-purpose solutions are worth mentioning separately.

Checklists.  Checklists are especially helpful for smaller projects and newer, less experienced project managers.  At its simplest, a checklist might be just a list of tasks that needs to be accomplished from week-to-week.  In addition, things it is important for the project manager to note may be on this list.  For example, was the task completed on time, on budget, and with the correct scope?  Was testing completed?  A checklist can also be used to record simple metrics, such as the time or cost variance.

Time Cards.  Tracking time is important, not just for scheduling but for improving the estimation process.  When resources are deployed over several projects, when time is critical, and when good information about work is needed to improve future estimates and schedules, a time card or tracking system is vital.  This system needs to be independent of how team members are paid, and if time tracking has not been done before, be sure to implement the change carefully.  At the end of a busy week, you are unlikely to get an accurate picture of time spent earlier in the week.  Project team members will need to be coached to enter their time daily, at a minimum.

Dashboards.  A dashboard can be used to display project progress based on the checklist, time tracking data, and other available information.  A key advantage is the dashboard can provide real-time feedback to project team members and executives.  It can be an open window on their workstations or displayed on monitors around the team workspace.  If done well, a dashboard can encourage the team to meet their committed goals and know when extra effort might be needed.

Software Solutions.  There are many different types of software available for tracking project tasks.  Perhaps the most straightforward tools are ProjectHub, Slack, Monday.com, and ClickUp.  They create easy-to-use task boards that display and monitor task progress.  However, these tools lack advanced features (e.g., overallocation detection, resource leveling) not needed for smaller projects and teams.  At the more challenging to use, but the potent end, are scheduling tools that also allow task-tracking, such as ProjectLibre, Primavera, and MS Project.  All tools mentioned here have various features, advantages, and disadvantages that should be examined before choosing a tool.

Do you know of any additional task tracking solutions?  If so, please leave a comment below.

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