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Lesson 6 - Track Project Progress

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Step-by-Step Project Planning with MS-Project

Previous Article in this Series
Lesson 5 - Assign Milestones and Finalize Plan

A detailed, nicely crafted project plan is worth nothing if it is not tracked and updated regularly. On the other hand, if tracked religiously, it throws up risks with respect to schedule, costs, etc. well in time to be able to take corrective measures. At the completion of a project, when you look back to see the lessons learned, a properly tracked plan will help gain a lot of insight based on the differences between the plan and the actual time and cost spent.

  1. Track the project progress as often as possible, and certainly on a weekly basis.
  2. Update Resource Calendars for all resources as and when a resource goes on leave, or works on a holiday, etc., as shown in Figure 10 in the lesson on allocating resources and setting timelines. Likewise, update Project Calendar as shown in Figure 3 in the lesson on setting up calendars as and when the work schedule changes on any day(s).
  3. Update task progress and completion, and start and finish dates of each task. This can be done in multiple ways, but the easiest and most efficient method is to use the split screen as described next.
  4. To update a task, click on “Split” under the “Window” menu. The screen is split as shown in Figure 18. Highlight the task to update in the upper part of the screen. The details are visible in the split screen as shown.
  5. Splitting the screen for updating tasks

    Figure 18: Splitting the screen for updating tasks
  6. When the tasks are marked as 100% complete, a blue check mark appears next to the task as shown in Figure 19.
  7. Marking an individual task as completed and Task Information icon

    Figure 19: Marking an individual task as completed and task information icon
  8. If the same action is to be done on multiple tasks (e.g., marking multiple tasks as completed), it is easier to select the tasks and use the “Task Information” icon shown in Figure 19 (at the top) to update all of them at once.
  9. When this icon is clicked, a window opens as shown in Figure 20 where the update(s) can be made.
  10. Updating multiple tasks at once when same information is to be entered

    Figure 20: Updating multiple tasks at once when same information is to be entered
  11. Whenever the project is updated, check for any resource over-allocation as shown in Figure 12 in the lesson on leveling resources, and fix the issues, if any.

The last and as important as any other step is to report project progress regularly.

Next Article in this Series
Lesson 7 - Report Project Progress


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