How to Monitor a Project Distantly?
You have an idea you set your sights on, and you truly cherish it because it should become the key to your future success. How can you trust such a valuable thing to a team of developers you don’t know? And how can you cooperate effectively if they work in a different country or even in another time zone? You are afraid to put your project in the hands of people you cannot keep an eye on, and it is understandable. But what if we say that to monitor project progress remotely is easier and safer than you might think?
What Is Project Tracking?
Monitoring your project progress enables you to understand at which point of project development you currently are and when you may expect to arrive at your destination. The comprehensive project plan is a key to the successful and timely implementation of an idea. Monitoring in project management requires you to have enough time and to possess strong organizational skills in order to ensure that the team members stay disciplined but do not feel oppressed. Sure, you may entrust project monitoring to an in-house project manager. Yet, to minimize the chance of any misunderstanding, we suggest that you keep a regular check on the project progress yourself.
What Should You Keep an Eye on to Track Progress?
- Make sure that your project plan requirements are clear and comprehensive, and the team has 100% understanding of the final product you expect them to deliver.
- Keep a track of project deliverables with the help of project monitoring tools. Ask your team to track progress themselves and to share it with you by showing you the actual software outcomes and test results.
- Do not underestimate the Quality Assurance team and the importance of their job, make sure that they are motivated and devoted to your project.
- Understand your customer and stakeholders and their needs, survey them regularly on their level of satisfaction and engagement.
- Try to avert conflicts and manage them timely. The harmonious working atmosphere is very important for the team to feel inspired and engaged in your project. Otherwise, conflicts and misunderstanding may badly slow down or even paralyze the development of your solution.
- Ensure the security of data flows. It is utterly important to protect the privacy of your data, especially while data leaks, identity thefts, and other cyber crimes are on their rise. To find out what measures might be taken to ensure that neither you nor your partners risk to fall victims to cybercriminals, check out our recent article on Data Safety.
- Estimate risks and uncertainties you may encounter, and make sure that you have a backup plan. Risk management is an important aspect of project management, and you should not neglect it.
How Do You Stay on Track with Your Project?
Begin with the end in mind. To communicate your project idea to the team, you have to explain it to yourself first. Do you know for sure what you want to create? Which functions your product is going to have? How is it going to look like? Are you even sure that the idea will become successful? If not, there is no point in starting to develop the solution. Instead, start with a prototype or a minimum viable product to evaluate the potential of your idea and to understand your target customer better. Then, you will be sure that your idea is working, and you will not be distracted by doubts an hesitations.
To understand what is project tracking, create a project control outline first ― a work-breakdown structure, where you describe your project plan and set clear goals, deadlines, and people responsible. Divide your key goal into smaller milestones, objectives, and sub-objectives to track the progress easier and to make sure that no task is left unattended. Share this plan with your project team because they have to be aware of the expected deliverables and timeframes to meet them.
Use Scrum methodology for project planning. Daily 15-minutes-long meetings are an efficient tool to get first-hand information about the project progress and to make sure that the project team feels motivated and engaged. Ask the people about their performance yesterday, the challenges they encountered, and their plans for the day. Also, feel free to consult with our project managers about Scrum and other project control methodologies, and stay tuned with our blog as we are getting ready to issue the ultimate project management guide for you.
Ask your project team to provide you with regular project estimates and performance reports, which is basically measuring project performance data put through the prism of the project management plan. The major variables to control include time, costs, resources, and deliverables. For a performance report to be readable, it should be simple, fast, and cheap to obtain because there is no value in tracking project progress if data collection takes more effort than the project itself. Besides digital documentation, use online communication software to conduct meetings and talk to your project team in person.
In addition to regular updates from your team, you should be able to access performance data yourself in real life and during each stage of the project lifecycle. For this purpose, use project monitoring tools, such as Teamwork, Trello, Jira, Notion, Harvest, CoSchedule, Basecamp, VSTS, or ProofHub. These project management tools also greatly facilitate project planning and the process of data exchange. More about tools to monitor project progress and not only, you can read in our recent article.
Create a “Conflict Log” spreadsheet, where you list all the issues with the stakeholders, customers, and team members by chronological order. This is one of the central project management tools, which will allow you to identify disruptive behavioral patterns if any, and make sure that no issues are left unresolved. It will also serve as a useful tool to analyze past conflict situations and tendencies and to prevent such from occurring throughout the future projects.
Monitoring in project management is never free of worries. Be ready that something might not go as expected, and you’ll have to amend your initial plan. In this case, you’ll need to compromise at least one of these values: time, costs, or scope. In other words, you either move the due date further, pay more money, or reduce the amount of work to be done. To make the best choice, you need to decide which aspects you value the most and which ones you can sacrifice. Are you ready to sacrifice quality and functionality over time and money? Or a high-quality final product is more important for you than these expenses?
Estimate the costs of a decision: sum up the payment rates of all your team members and multiply them by the number of hours you need to carry out the solution. Upon the completion of the project, compare planned costs with actual expenses. This will help you to understand which mistakes to avoid, how to plan your project better, how to measure project performance, and how to optimize your project management processes in the future.
Finally, as Paul J. Meyer said, “Communication ― the human connection ― is the key to personal and career success”. Communicate with your team and try to maintain healthy relationships. Update all the people involved in the project development on any changes that occur and ask them to do the same thing. Ask how you can help ― the team will appreciate your engagement and work more devotedly to achieve the mutual goal. In addition, do not forget about asking the people you work with about how they are doing and conduct team building activities from time to time, go visit them to their country, or invite them to come over to yours.
If you are not sure that you will have enough time and energy to monitor all these processes yourself, find a software development agency with an excellent reputation and a well-developed portfolio. To help you cope with tracking project progress, the agency will assign its best project managers to supervise your product. These people are educated to use project management tools, to plan and monitor the project completion, to estimate risks, to unite and motivate the team, and to communicate the project progress to you. Project management tracking progress will spare you from unnecessary efforts and hustle.
When working with KeenEthics, have no doubts to entrust your project planning and measuring project performance to our skillful and devoted Project Managers ― Oksana, Andrii, and Alex. They will ensure project management tracking progress for you to get the product of the highest quality completed on time with minimum resources and absolutely no risks. Yet, do not hesitate to track project progress yourself and our PMs will willingly consult you on the tools to monitor project progress. Ask them how to measure project performance and communicate your ideas or worries once you have any ― we value your opinion and engagement!