Each reporting cycle, you should be collecting updated information about how your project is progressing (“Actuals”). But how should you collect this information?
There are actually many ways to collect the information:
- Allowing team members to enter their progress information directly into a scheduling tool.
- Sending out emails, either manually or automatically, requesting progress updates.
- Calling people on the phone.
- Sending out reports to team members, either hard-copy or electronic, for them to mark up and return.
- Collecting progress in project status meetings.
- Meeting team members in-person one-on-one.
When deciding which method to select (which may not be the same for all stakeholders) consider:
- Timeliness – the information needs to be collected in as short a space of time as possible, so it can be reported as-of the same point in time.
- The skills, understanding , and level of involvement of the project team members.
- The size of the project team and the location of team members.
- The level of effort required to collect the information.
- The quality and consistency of the data collected.
At Key Consulting, our preference, if possible, is to collect progress information in a project status meeting. This has the advantage of:
- Being able to ask follow-up and verification questions concerning the progress.
- Limiting the number of people entering information into the scheduling software.
- Other team members are made aware of progress and issues in other areas.
- All the progress information is collected within a short window of time.
In the next post we’ll examine what type of information you should be collecting.