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Tracking is Key to Efficient Project Management

As reported by Project Management Institute’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession, an organization’s ability to meet project timelines, budgets and especially goals, significantly impacts its ability to thrive—and even survive. As organizations address the urgent need to improve project success rates, they are faced with a complex and risky environment that necessitates them to do more with less in an unfavorable economic climate. The same research report also says that $135 million is at risk for every $1 billion spent on a project.

In spite of this risk, organizations are not sure how to effectively manage projects and then to explain the business benefits of strategic initiatives to stakeholders.  The third global PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) survey on the current state of project management reveals that, according to executives, effective communication is associated with a 17 percent increase in finishing projects within budget. Of equal (if not more) importance is tracking time, cost and production units.

Tracking is empowering

Tracking helps to calculate earned value and it is also used for comparative analysis. For example, comparing planned units versus actual units or budgeted costs to actual costs gives project managers insight into the current state of projects.  It gives them a clear picture of whether their respective projects are performing as per expectations. If this comparison can become a vital part of a project, project managers are empowered to track and take corrective actions well in advance.  This will ensure that projects do not go off track or stray out of the acceptable variance limits.

Why conformance is important

Conformance with the plan is not simply a project management requirement. It is the vital backbone of a project to ensure that budgets, timelines and costs do not overshoot limits bringing down Return on Investment (ROI) levels. Without comparison, there is no basis against which to determine if a project has gone off track and small problems then have the potential to snow ball into  large issues that could require greater time and expense to correct down the road.

Why track?

Project managers will wonder how time consuming this tracking activity will be and whether there is the need for this extra activity on an ongoing basis.  The answer is simple.  Advance knowledge helps project managers make modifications in estimation techniques to achieve greater accuracy in the planning stage itself. This will help bring down increased workload or rework during the execution phase. Thus, the very success of a project lies in efficient project management, and tracking is core to this function.

The importance of data capture

Data capture in an accurate manner is required for tracking to be of any use.  The best project managers believe in capturing data on a daily basis using a tracking application.  This will ensure that misapplication of time and resources is avoided. To ensure that the solution performs accurately, a certain amount of training is required for all those personnel who will be entering data.

It is also important to plan the level of detail a project manager wants to drill down to.  Whether tracking time or expenses, to which level of granularity one wishes to track is important and this decision needs to be made before the actual data entry phase begins.

A good tracking solution gives the organization the power to control the level of detail in tracking and depending on adherence to data entry, the solution can be a powerful tracking tool to keep projects on track at all times.  LoadSpringMobilePrimavera Progress Reporter, and other tracking solutions hosted through LoadSpring’s SpringBoard Portal are good examples.

Sometimes, tracking at granular levels can be overwhelming, especially if an organization is in a growth phase. There are many fires to be put out and there may not be too much time for data entry and capture. For such organizations, high level tracking may suffice and as the organization matures, it can control the level of detail in tracking.

The power of the tracking application lies in its ability to empower project managers to decide how they want to use it.

Contact LoadSpring today at (978) 685-9715 to learn more about effective project management solutions. LoadSpring—Fast, easy, mobile. Now.

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