Resource Index > Project Management Activities > Tracking and Control

Tracking and Control

Tracking and Control is the dual process of detecting when a project is drifting off-plan, and taking corrective action to bring the project back on track. But a successful project manager will also be able to tell when the plan itself is faulty, and even re-plan the project and its goals if necessary. The resources in these pages will help you track and control projects in a variety of different environments, without becoming a slave to Gantt charts and scheduling diagrams. The emphasis should always be on what gets the work done.

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Examples of Project Tracking and Control documents
Project tracking does not require micromanagement. In fact, the best project managers would never dream of that level of oversight.

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  • Action Item List Formats
    Example formats for keeping track of action items that need to be accomplished during a project.
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  • Small Project Tracking File
    An example of how to track a small, short, straightforward project without going overboard on detail.
  • Adapting PM Techniques and Templates to a Mini-Project
    This case study elaborates on how one of our non-PMs applied various PM techniques and tools to a time-bounded, mission-critical, ultra-small project -- her family vacation.
  • Conquering Micro-Management
    This mini-case study relates the experience of a small game company's founder and the decisions he made for making PM work for a fast-moving, bureaucracy-hating team.
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  • Tracking with Visible Deliverables
    This template provides formats and example project data illustrating effective ways to track project progress by explicitly tracking drafts, reviews, and completion of multiple very small deliverables.
  • Project Deliverables Release Form
    This form communicates that a deliverable has reached a specific state of completion, and thus can be safely deployed to specified groups of customers or users.
  • Phase Signoff Process
    This guideline shows a team's process for getting meaningful executive signoffs at the end of key project phases, to approve transition to the next phase and expenditures.
  • Project Progress Checklists for Sponsors and Managers
    Checklists to help Project Managers and Executive Sponsors monitor progress throughout the course of a project. One section walks sponsors through critical project evaluation issues. The other is designed for use by the sponsor and PM during detailed reviews.
Step-by-Step Guidelines for Successful Project Tracking and Control
How do you track and control a project? What should you do first to ensure your project is controllable? What tools are available and how are people using them?

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  • Proper Methods for Resource Planning
    Controlling and micro managing creative, knowledge workers generally doesn't work. Conversely, providing an arbitrary delivery date or even allowing the team to completely self regulate work without a delivery date, doesn't work either. While it is true that we always seem to get done what is critical in the time we have, you shouldn't provide your team unrealistic and unachievable dates.
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  • Executive Summary of Project Status and Risks
    This easily scanned form condenses the project information executives really care about on a single page, focusing on changes and trends, not just dates and numbers. The result is an at-a-glance summary that quickly shows execs how the project is doing and what help is needed.
  • Release Decision Guidelines
    Use this process near the end of a project to systematically review open issues and determine which ones must be corrected before release.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
Other Options
  • Check our book list for references on project tracking and control.
  • Project Planning and Tracking Bundle - $41.95 (Free for subscribers)
    This bundled collection of detailed guidelines, checklists, and templates will make any project more manageable. Learn cool tools and fast fundamentals for faster, better scheduling and estimating; better visibility into what's really happening on your project; getting the right information to the right people at the right time; more meaningful status reports and budgets that don't take hours per day to write.
  • Project Status Reports - $17.95 (Free for subscribers)
    8 different templates and guidelines providing more than 20 variations on status report formats for different situations, many with sample data so you can see the level of detail other teams and managers use.
Typical Project Tracking Issues and Answers to Common Questions
What can you do NOW when your project is out of control? Is it normal to have to re-plan a project?

For Guests
These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
  • Trust Me, You Are in Good Hands
    Savvy project managers have radar and can sense and predict events and circumstances. You hired good people. It's time to trust them.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • Handling the Endgame of a Project
    Even the best-planned projects often end up in a painful endgame. This in-the-trenches look at the late stages of a project discusses some of the breakdowns and crises that occur and offers some tips, tools, and advice on how to deal with them.
  • Rescuing and Revitalizing the Problem Project
    This paper outlines how to get a panicked project team to stop, take a deep breath, analyze what has gone wrong and how to get it right again, and re-launch your disaster project with new, actually attainable goals.
  • Showing Your Team What "Urgent" Looks Like
    This mini case study examines the steps taken by one VP to meet a beta deadline on a project plagued by late deliveries, even though the team members really were working hard.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
Other Options
  • Check our book list for references on project tracking and control.
  • Tracking and Managing Virtual Teams
    A mini-course by Cinda Voegtli - $24.95 - 1 PDU
    This course from Cinda Voegtli addresses the unique challenges of tracking and managing distributed team members. No matter where your team members are located or who they report to, there are several easy forms of tracking and communication you can use ensure that the right work is getting done at the right time.



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