The key objective for most projects is to ensure that client expectations are met. These are commonly 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 forecast delivery dates can be compared with committed dates. This is project milestone tracking.
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 most usual way of gathering data on actual performance.
Within Microsoft Project, the duration of tasks will be re-calculated if a fixed work type of task is used, and the daily actual work and estimates of remaining work are transferred from the timesheet system to re-estimate the work content.
Where the original estimate was too light, the task end date will move out. For those tasks that are on the critical path or have only a small amount of float, this can impact the milestone’s forecast date.
This is a key benefit in implementing timesheets for project tracking, which is provided by Innate’s resource management software.
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.
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.
For Microsoft Project plans, the task and assignment data is mapped into Innate where it populates timesheets, so that daily actuals and estimates of remaining work can be returned to Microsoft Project.