Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Monitoring and Reporting Progress

Question 11: Are you monitoring progress regularly?

Project manager working on his plan

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: The project plan should be monitored and updated every week. This is important since tasks are often underestimated, and many new tasks will be identified as the project moves forward.

...many people use what is called Rolling Wave Planning. This is when you plan down to the level of detail currently known and go back to plan deeper once more information is acquired. Usually rolling wave planning needs to stay at least 2 to 3 months ahead of the actual work being done, but of course this varies slightly by industry. 1

If you create plans at the beginning of a project, put them in a drawer and forget them, why bother creating them in-the-first-place?

In poorly run projects, problems can go undetected until the project fails. It's like the drip…drip…drip of a leaky underground pipe. Money is being lost, but you don't see it until there is an explosion. - Joy Gumz

Common Mistakes

  • Project plans never updated beyond the first draft.
  • Using non-binary milestones.
  • Reporting tasks as┬ápartially┬ácomplete. Low-level tasks are not complete until they are complete; they should be measured as either 0% or 100% complete.
  • Ignoring warning signs and pressing on in the hope everything will turn out right in the end.

Warning Signs!

  • The number of open issues continues to rise.
  • Contingency plans are used faster than the rate of progress on the project.

1 Micah Mathis, PMP, Work Breakdown Structure: Purpose, Process and Pitfalls, 2007.