PMO tracking project progress

PMO project monitoring and project tracking

Project monitoring and project tracking is a very important aspect of the responsibilities of a PMO.  In fact, regardless if a PMO is in place or not, project tracking must be done.

Why you need project tracking and project reporting

The reason for this is in order to ensure that a project is making progress and on track to deliver, there needs to be a mechanism to monitor progress.  Without this, a sponsor and organisation will be placing blind faith that the project will deliver what has been specified, by the agreed date and within the allocated budget.  I am sure you will agree that this is a very big “leap of faith”.

This should also be of the highest priority to the project manager, in fact it is part of their job description to control and monitor progress.  Without tracking how will the project manager know if the project will deliver and if interventions are required.

What is project monitoring and project tracking

In its simplest and purest terms, project tracking is monitoring the progress of a project to asses if it is making the correct progress in order to achieve the agreed objectives or outcomes.  This is usually achieved by the use of a professional project status report.

The report must provide a clear and accurate statement of the project status as at the date of the report.  It should also include a direct and informative executive statement (“elevator speech”) that conveys the status, any key issues / risks causing a status other than Green together with required action.

What should be tracked and monitored?

It is important to have tangible metrics that can be tracked.  This should include:

Overall RAG status

Previous reporting period and current reporting period.  This will show where the overall trend is starting to deteriorate.

Budget

This should capture plan / budget, actual’s and forecast to complete.  This will provide details if a project is running ahead, or behind budget.  It is possible to add a RAG status to budget to provide a visual representation.

Milestones

It is important to include a number of significant milestones to monitor progress with target date.  This is the high level baseline from the project plan (schedule).  Progress can then be monitored if they are being achieved, on target at threat.  A way to do this is again to use RAG.

This makes it possible to focus on the milestones that need attention and intervention.

Achievements current period / Planned next period

This allows context to be added to what is going on in the project and what is expected in the next period.  A good project manager will use this to celebrate successes.  Including planned next period ensures that the project manager and the team are thinking ahead not just focusing on current activity.

Key risks, assumptions, issues, dependencies (drawn from RAID log)

It should include the top 3 issues and risks with owner and planned mitigation.  The report should indicate where an item needs to be escalated for resolution.  Tracking these will allow early identification of events that will impact delivery.

Who should conduct project tracking and project monitoring?

  • Project Manager – it is their job to monitor progress, make interventions and keep sponsors and stakeholders appraised.
  • Sponsor – it is their job to ensure that the project delivers their requirement within budget and agreed timescale.
  • PMO – they are responsible for oversight of delivery, ensuring accurate reporting and advising on deviation from plan

Smart project tracking and monitoring for a PMO

If you want to move up the value of your PMO you should:

  • Implement a good, clear, professional project report
  • Provide clear guidelines on how the report should completed
  • Review submissions and check for quality and consistency
  • Hold a meeting with the project manager to review, understand and challenge the report
  • Issue a reporting calendar
  • Provide senior management with high level overviews via PMO Dashboards, trends, areas of focus

Never under estimate the power of presentation

While quality content is the most important input for project monitoring and project tracking, do not underestimate the power of a professionally designed report with good visual indicators.  When this is ignored a good report can be considered unfairly as low quality.  Therefore, ensure you have a professional looking project report and dashboard.  If you don’t have time or are not good at design, fast track this by buying a set of proven project management templates.