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Project tracking is not only a useful way to share progress quickly and easily with outside stakeholders, more importantly it is also a primary method for monitoring the health of any particular project. It is like a hospital keeping track of the vital signs of a patient, a quick look from an experienced professional and they can spot any worrying trends or problems that may need closer attention.

This is where trend analysis in project management comes in, as a precise method of tracking a project’s expected progress versus its actual situation. A trend analysis will plot the course of your project, or even just specific metrics within the project, and compare them to where they should be. For milestone trend analysis, the expected and actual deliverable completion dates are tracked.

How a Milestone Trend Analysis Works

  1. Set the milestones

Gather your team and specific team members and ask them when they believe each of the deliverables will be completed. For the purpose of example, we will imagine eight deliverables and make them Milestones 1 – 8. The milestones will be interrelated and should follow sequentially. The milestones can be plotted on a simple graph (x = Milestones, y = Date). The line which is drawn through these points will become the Base Projection Line.

  1. Reassess after each milestone

Once the first milestone has been reached, mark its actual delivery date. Then gather the responsible team leads again to reassess the completion dates, the replotted line will be the M1 Projection Line. This can be done for each new milestone as it is reached. To avoid confusion only use the latest projection line, rather than having one for each of the previous milestones.

  1. Track your progress

The final line of importance is the Actual Delivery Line. This will go through each of the plot points for when the milestones were actually reached. The variation between the Base Projection Line and the Actual Delivery Line will immediately show you, or any other stakeholder, how close the project is aligning with its projected path.

  1. Read the nuances

The secret to great trend analysis in project management isn’t necessarily in focusing on the difference between the various lines but on the trends that are showing up. For example, a project might be showing that it is 30% off track by Milestone 3 but by Milestone 6 it is at 20%, this shows that the initial projections were at fault, but that progress is speeding up and overall it is actually going very well. On the other hand, a project might be 5% off track by Milestone 3 but is 20% off by Milestone 6, which is a worrying sign as problems would seem to be accumulating and the project is slowing down.

Increase your business agility with Clarizen’s project management software

Trend analysis can be very useful, but it is also important to be skilled at reading the information properly and to have the right software to help. Clarizen provides some of the best tools and solutions for conducting trend analysis in project management. Talk to our experts today to find out how our cloud-based project management software can help you monitor your project’s health.

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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

  • - Existing pure-play PPM providers
  • - Collaborative work management (CWM) providers
  • - Enterprise agile planning (EAP) providers
  • - Technology Platform providers from other markets

The guide provides insight into how well a product or service fulfills certain functional capabilities – with a forward-looking market direction and analysis provided.

In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

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