It’s an area I am afraid that is rarely looked at. Often times, certain departments have their own project lists, but from an overall company standpoint, I would guess that many employees have no idea what type of projects are being worked on with respect to the company’s’ direction.
It really is time that companies become more transparent with their own employees. Tracking project work and communicating progress on projects needs more attention. A few months ago, I took on this task at our company, and it has really paid big dividends in helping our company get more focused on spending time on the processes that need immediate attention. It has also helped us get on the same page with respect to the scope of projects and meeting project completion dates. Every company deals with project work to some degree. With smaller staffs, limited resources and stricter deadlines, managing project work is really the game-breaker for most companies. The best way to track projects is not through the latest, greatest project management work. It really comes down to getting the project work on paper with the following information:
- Project Title
- Project Scope
- Start Date
- Estimated Completion Date
- Total Estimated Hours
- Regular progress updates
- Project Manager
Other Items to consider:
- Other Notes
- Status Reports
- Resource utilization
- Tracking Project Participant Hours
The hardest part of this process is collecting project information on all work currently being conducted. Once this information has been collected, it is important to store this information in some type of software. I prefer Excel, because it is easy to create project templates and track project information by individual tabs. In addition, printed reports can be created without a lot of programming or copy/paste of text.
One of the pieces that gets neglected is the communication regarding project process. Too often, project status information is only communicated to the top executives and not to the people who are affected or who may be doing some of the project tasks. I know this particular topic is one which I need to work at more.
The bottom-line is document your projects and use this information as a guide to keep your team focused on work critical to running your business.