5 best practices for multi-project tracking

How to monitor and track major events?

This article is really about project monitoring. Unfortunately most would probably confuse the terms "tracking" and "monitoring". We often mean "monitoring" when we say "tracking". I know I do sometimes to sets people's expectations in a conversation or meeting. Monitoring sounds more passive and less important. It is neither.


tracking meeting

What is project tracking?

Project tracking involves activities comparing the project plan, budget and resources vs actual metrics and reality. It is about defining specific metrics and verify how the actual project compares to expected performance metrics.
In my view it is more limited than project monitoring, although, technically, project tracking is part of project monitoring.

What it project monitoring?

Project monitoring and control is broader, and it is the official term covered in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBok). For example, it includes scope verification which is obviously not part of project tracking. In summary it covers the following activities:

Monitoring and Controlling Project Work
Integrated Change Control
Scope Verification
Scope Control
Schedule Control
Cost Control
Performing Quality Control
Managing the Project Team
Performance Reporting


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Best practices

It does not matter if you are running a waterfall project, agile one or an hybrid, you should follow these practices.

1. Before you start production, define and know the key performance indicators you will follow.
Decide if you want to follow team's velocity, tasks lead times, resources utilization etc..
then measure these indicators and metrics throughout your project.

2. Establish the use of project logs to monitor progress and risk
Project logs are a very powerful way to monitor and record progress. If you use RAID logs, you even monitor risks as part of your normal work. Use the Risk log to record any existing or future obstacle and address them.

3. Consider using milestones if you are not using Agile
Milestones are key states you want to achieve. By monitoring progress towards each milestone, it is easier to catch a drifting project early.

4. Evaluate your resources allocation
Is the team fully utilized or can you improve allocation?

5. If you are managing multiple projects simultaneously, re-prioritize these projects often
Some teams are running concurrently projects. These projects affect resource utilization and must be monitored as a group. Prioritizing these projects will ensure the team is working on what is more important at any time.


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