With the knowledge, experience and tools available to all in this modern age, I was shocked to find out that my company does not use any sort of sophisticated tool to track the progress of a project. The amount of time each portion of the project requires is determined based on estimations for each one of the groups. We usually provide our clients with soft implementation dates, but we never actually complete out projects by those dates and usually go over our hard implementation dates. In my experience as a participating member of the team I think it can be improved with a couple additions.
First, I think using estimates that are provided from each group is a poor source of information. My suggestion is to use data from previous projects that were similar in nature, scope and complexity. Using data from those previous projects as an index for new projects should help a project manager better gauge a correct time frame for the completion of certain portions of the project.
I think having a sophisticated tool will help our project manager manage the constant challenges that arise with keeping track of progress for these projects. Currently our project managers reach out to each team who are working in different areas to get updates which are stored on a spreadsheet. That time spent chasing groups for updated can hold up the start of the next component of the project.
The Spreadsheet that the project manager completes is distributed to the group on a weekly basis. To improve in this area some of these tools can be updated by the group working on each area and be available to everyone working on the project at any time. Having a live view of the current status of the project can me valuable for the people participating in the project as well as the client.
Some of these tools will also help a project manager analyze any short coming of the project or areas that need to be addressed. For instance one team that is constantly not meeting deadlines could just be providing inaccurate estimates. These types of tools and analysis can help eliminate exceeding deadlines. I have not done the research but I’m sure there is a cost to either the client or to our group for exceeding the hard deadline. Being able to see that a project will not meet the deadline earlier on will be more cost efficient opposed catching it later on. There is also a reputational risk our company face when we don’t meet those deadlines, as it appears that