At the outset to my last article ‘Fail to Plan and you plan to fail’, lets understand the next stage of planning i.e. monitoring.
First of all Project planning and monitoring are iterative activities wherein the scope of project monitoring activity starts with approved Project plan and ends at project closure.
Project monitoring periodically keeps track of project progress and manage deviations from plan by taking timely appropriate corrective actions.
Project monitoring activities mainly involves:
- Keeping track of the project progress and their timelines.
- Update the status of the tasks and monitor its deviation from timelines.
- Management of change in requirements
- Monitor project resources
- Identify issues and track them to closure.
- Manage escalations.
- Monitor risks and execute mitigation/contingency plan as and when needed.
- Communicate project’s progress to relevant stakeholders
- Measure and monitor set quality parameters to track performance, take necessary actions in case of measures are not met.
Successful project monitoring focuses on following activities:
Project Status Reporting at the frequency defined in the project plan. It contains qualitative and quantitative information about the project’s progress. Frequency of reporting can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly and/or at the end of milestone.
Project Status Reviews are performed as per the frequency defined in the project plan. Reports form an input to the review. Usually the reviews are either at phase end or at the end of milestone but it may differ as per project specific needs. Following pointers are mainly discussed during project status review meetings.
- Project progress. Reasons for project delays, if any, and action taken to avoid it in subsequent phases.
- Effects of change in requirements in project performance
- Issues resolution and important decisions taken; lessons learnt from them.
- Risks occurrences and preventive measures.
- Resources and training need if any identified out of the plan.
- Project performance and deviations if any.
Corrective actions are action items that are outcome of project status review meetings. Corrective actions are resolved based on their priority and severity. The completion status of these corrective actions is again reported in the subsequent status reports.
Project plan revision might be a result of either corrective actions from reviews or change in requirements.
Monitoring project performances involves various monitoring methods to understand project performance. They are mainly categorized into Qualitative and Quantitative methods. These methods make use of qualitative and quantitative indicators to help monitoring the project. Qualitative indicators are subjective and non-numerical whereas quantitative indicators are measurable and numerical. Identification of indicators to measure and monitor depends on project requirements and are well defined in project plan.
Thus, monitoring is a continuous process from project startup to closure. Lessons learnt and best practices should be shared to the relevant stakeholders for reference for similar future projects.