Tracking Project and Task Progress

Atlanta Chapter

Michael is an executive with operations, technology, consulting, process reengineering, and business development experience. Specialties include process design, process innovation, process re-engineering, technology consulting, project rescue, operational turnaround and vendor management.

There are many ways to track progress on a project. Depending on the nature of the project and specific tasks, the most common approaches are:

  • Report that we’ve finished X out of Y, and report the percent complete. This can lend itself to some good analytics. For example, if the project scope is to deploy 5,000 laptops, one could report that they’ve finished 3,000, making for a work completion of 60%. A deeper dive could show the numbers and resulting percentages for ones not started, in progress and completed. A figure for project warranty issues can add a qualitative dimension useful for a feedback loop to improve that work process. This data-driven approach can make for simple progress reporting, is easily digestible by stakeholders and can provide the project team with useful indicators.
  • Ask the resource what they want to report for percent work completion and “enhance” their response with whether their remaining work equals the forecast minus work performed to date. For example, a software developer forecasts 80 hours to write some code. They might be 60 hours in (75% complete), but ran into some issues and instead of only needing the 20 hours remaining, instead need another 40. Since that revises the time from 80 to 100 hours, a case can easily be made to report 60% completion instead of 75%. In real life, many project managers and …

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