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One of the most important aspects of a project manager’s job is measuring progress on each task. It helps employees stay focused and meet goals, and it helps project managers stay on top of what’s happening in the workplace. The first step of effective leadership is helping others stay on task, keeping team members engaged and holding everyone accountable. Here are just a few effective ways of tracking project progress as a project manager.

Create a Project Outline

Working with team members to create a project outline can be a great way of tracking project progress. Each member of the team can give input for setting up realistic project goals and learn what’s expected of them individually and as part of a group. Taking the time to sit down with workers and hash out a comprehensive outline—including team goals, milestones, and key project indicators (KPIs) is a great first step.

Establish Goals and Milestones

When considering how to track the progress of a project, it’s good to consider a worker’s specific skill set first. Measuring progress can look very different from person to person and project to project. The more familiar a project manager is with each employee’s skills and limitations, the better sense he or she will have of how to hold them accountable. Setting up tailored goals and milestones with each member of the team also goes a long way toward team satisfaction. It’s important to stress each team member’s role and how it will contribute to the success of the team as a whole. Keeping the big picture in mind is always important, even while implementing smaller goals and points of progress.

Check in Regularly

When considering how to track the progress of a project, never underestimate the importance of checking in. Having a quick, informal chat at the beginning of each work session can establish trust between project managers and workers, and help to distinguish a key difference between workers feeling cared about and checked in on versus feeling judged or checked up on. Communication is always key in making sure a project runs smoothly. If a worker is having trouble reaching goals or performing time-sensitive tasks, it’s best to check in and try to get to learn the reason why, rather than continuing to implement structures that aren’t motivational or helpful.

Ask How You Can Help

There are many ways a project manager can help workers feel less stressed or overwhelmed by tasks. For example, suggesting tools that are available to help workers with their organization skills is always a great option. Project management software like Clarizen can be a great way to show individual workers how to track the progress of a project and work collaboratively without getting caught up in a lot of confusing details.

Establish Clear Deadlines

Keeping the end goal in sight is always helpful for measuring progress. Being clear about deadlines can help workers stay on track and complete tasks without getting overly stressed or overwhelmed. Tracking project progress becomes far easier once everyone knows what the project timeline is. Some project managers prefer to work with one final deadline, while others like to establish a deadline per milestone or goal. Whatever the preferred method, so long as each deadline is clearly set and team members have a sense of what they’re working towards, keeping track of each project should be a simple matter of sticking to the schedule.

Doug Uptmor
Doug Uptmor, Director of Content