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Project Tracking: Monitor Implementation and Control Performance of Projects

 

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Tracking is the fourth phase of the project lifecycle targeted at monitoring, reviewing and regulating implementation processes and performance of a project. It comes after the execution phase and involves the project manager in identifying any areas that require changes in the general plan (the PM plan) and initiating the change management process that regulates status of those changes.

The tracking phase correlates with the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group described in the PMBOK Guide. With reference to this handbook, thereís a range of high-level processes to monitor and control projects, their performance, and implementation. Hereíre these processes:

  • Control Project Work
  • Verify and Control Scope
  • Control Schedule
  • Control Costs
  • Control Quality
  • Monitor Risks
  • Administer Procurements

Each of the processes can be broken down into a range of simple tasks and jobs that can be assigned to and performed by your project team. With help of VIP Task Manager you can plan such tasks through creating hierarchies, to-do lists and templates. Letís describe the processes and see examples of tasks related to the tracking phase.

Key Processes

Control Project Work . The process of controlling project work can be regarded as a series of tasks to track, review and regulate the project progress in order to make sure performance objectives identified in the PM plan are met. The project manager monitors the work through status reports, progress measurement and forecasting. This person needs to receive daily performance reports that demonstrate project performance with regard to the constraints, such as scope, schedule, risks, resources, cost and quality. The team needs to generate such reports and send feedback on any issues to the project manager. In such a way the process provides input data for monitoring and controlling the rest processes of the tracking phase.

Verify and Control Scope . This process requires the project manager to formalize acceptance of completed deliverables. The manager will review status of every deliverable and then measure completed deliverables against stakeholder requirements. If the deliverables are produced as required, the project manager verifies and accepts them. The project team can be involved in monitoring status of the product scope. Team members will assist the manager to control and manage changes made to the scope.

Control Schedule . This process includes a set of tasks to monitor status of the project, make updates to its progress, and review and control changes made to the schedule. By using project performance data the project manager can measure durations listed in the schedule and check if there is a need to make changes to the schedule. Usually a change request is used as a formal document to approve an update to the schedule.

Control Costs . This process involves the project manager and the team in observing status of project work to review the budget and monitor changes made to the cost baseline. The project funding requirements and the cost baseline are two major documents used to measure current usage of financial resources. The process lets the project manager forecast completion of the project taking into account available funds. It ends up with creating change requests related to the budget sheet and making updates and corrections to the general plan.

Control Quality . The process aims at reviewing and recording results of the quality management process and making updates to the quality management plan. The manager can use quality metrics and work performance measurements to assess quality performance and recommend necessary changes to the PM plan. The process serves as a great way to control the project progress in terms of quality and validate deliverables that have been produced in line with initial quality standards.

Monitor Risks . The general goal of this process is to implement risk response plans. Through using the risk register, risk management plan and performance reports, the project manager can track identified risks, monitor residual risks, define new risks, and evaluate efficiency of the risk management process throughout the project. Updates to the risk register and risk management plan are outcomes of the Monitor Risks process.

Administer Procurements . This process focus the project manager on tracking procurement relationships with selected vendors, monitoring contract performance, reviewing status of deliveries, and making changes and corrections to the procurement management plan. The purchasing department in cooperation with the project team needs to generate performance reports and present these documents to the project manager. Change requests can be issued by the department, and the project manager needs to review these requests and make the decision on approving/disapproving updates to the procurement management plan.

Using VIP Task Manager

The tracking phase can be managed with help of VIP Task Manager. This software can be used to plan various tasks. For example, the Control Project Work process can be divided into such tasks as Generate status reports, Send feedback, Make forecasts and List pending issues. VIP Task Manager lets use Due Date, Assignment, % Complete, Status and other attributes to plan and track these tasks. Below you can see an example of task hierarchy dedicated to the tracking phase.

Tracking Phase

  • Control Project Work
    • Generate status report per constraint (scope, schedule, risks, resources, cost, quality)
    • Send feedback to the project manager
    • Make forecasts of project performance
    • List outstanding issues
  • Verify and Control Scope
    • List deliverables produced
    • Make requirements traceability matrix
    • Compare the deliverables against stakeholder requirements
    • Identify deviations (if any) and make change requests
    • Send change requests to the project manager for approval
    • Make a list of accepted deliverables
  • Control Schedule
    • Estimate current activity durations
    • Compare current activity durations against the scheduled durations
    • Define a need to make changes to the schedule
    • Send change requests to the project manager for approval
  • Control Cost
    • Design a comparison matrix showing funding requirements and the cost baseline
    • Estimate available financial resources
    • Make a forecast of project completion
    • Approve/disapprove change requests
    • Make updates to the budget
  • Control Quality
    • Report on results of the quality management process to the project manager
    • Assess quality performance
    • Recommend necessary changes to PM plan
    • Review produced deliverables against quality standards
    • Validate deliverables
    • Make updates to the quality management plan
  • Monitor Risks
    • Report on status of risk response plans
    • List residual risks and new risks
    • Evaluate efficiency of the risk management process
    • Make updates to the risk register and risk management plan
  • Administer Procurements
    • Report on status of procurement relationships
    • Report on contract performance
    • Report on status of deliveries
    • List pending procurement items
    • Make changes and corrections to the procurement management plan

Please look at the screenshot to see the tasks listed in Task Tree view of VIP Task Manager. By using Permissions panel you can allow members of your project team to share the tasks. The project manager can monitor status of the tasks and exchange comments with the team.

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