A project will only be hailed as a success if the client expectations have been fully met. These are typically expressed in terms of the scope of what’s to be delivered, its quality, the costs that will be incurred and timescales. Milestone tracking is the most effective way of managing the timescale element.
Effective project planning focuses on the key deliverables, so that tasks show clearly how the work will be organized to achieve the delivery dates. Milestones are used to identify these key delivery dates so that, as the project gets underway, forecast dates can be compared with committed dates. This is project milestone tracking.
Symbols show the key delivery milestones, and agreed task start and finish dates – within which all work must be scheduled
Once the plan has been agreed with the client, a baseline or snapshot needs to be taken, so that the actual project performance has a yardstick for comparison. Where the project plans include detailed work assignments, timesheets are the best way of gathering data on the effort spent, and earned value the most objective measure of actual performance.
Weekly timesheets can give early warning when the actual productivity falls below that assumed and show the likely impact on milestone dates in time for corrective action to be taken. As project scope changes are agreed, the original baseline will probably need to be updated.
This is a key benefit of implementing timesheets and earned value measurement for project tracking, both of which are provided by Innate resource management software.
Milestone Tracking with Innate’s Software
Projects can be planned using either Microsoft Project, for the more complex, or Innate’s resource planning web based spreadsheets for the simpler ones. Milestones can be used in either method and Innate’s project baselines preserve original plans as a yardstick.
As plans get updated and milestone forecast dates change, a simple project milestone tracking report will highlight any delay.