If you’ve been in an IT-project steering group, the status reports during the project may have been as follows:
- During the planning phase, the status was Green
- During the definition phase, it was Green, with some issues listed for attention.
- During the building phase, the status was Green or Yellow. Some issues are late according to the schedule, but it is believed that the timetable can be caught up.
- At the latest in the test phase, the status changes to yellow.
- At the start of the acceptance test, the status is already red.
- When the time of deployment is approaching, you start planning the schedule again.
How to prevent project drift into problems.
The red light does not light up suddenly. It lights up when a large number of open issues accumulate into a problem. The question is how a steering group could make the right decisions at the right time? How to prevent project drift turning into problems. The answer is: The project must be designed so that its progress can be monitored reliably and in real time.
How to Enable reliable and real-time reporting
The idea is very simple:
- Make the list of activities on the title level first. This is important to find out when it’s 100% ready.
- Agree on the process in which the activity is performed.
- Evaluate the workload. Make a resource plan and calendar reservations.
- Instruct people to work according to the agreed process.
- Create a dashboard and lead.
The benefits of real-time reporting
The real obvious benefit of real-time reporting is that you know how the project progresses all the time. You can lead the project. React if you stay behind the timetable and thank people for the good progress.
By planning reporting to support leading, you’ll also get other benefits.
- Find out the workload for that phase.
- Making this work becomes more effective because you have planned and communicated the process.
- Make sure everyone knows their own job.
- You can track the project. You will notice immediately if some activity is not progressing.
- You can make sure that the phase in question is really completed, 100% ready
To get a better idea, I’ll give you an example about how we managed the VIP-area building.
When we decided to implement the Project-TOP VIP area, we decided to design the project first by using ProjectTOP. During that planning, we listed all 29 written articles as Posting-activities.
Then we agreed on how the articles should be completed.
- Jyrki first collects materials for the article.
- Jyrki translates the articles.
- Jayde corrects the errors in the language.
- Kristian checks the layout.
- Marissa imports the article to WordPress.
- Joonas checks the article and makes any necessary corrections and accepts it.
I then checked that the ProjectTOP configuration matched the agreed process
Next, we made a resource plan. I made sure that all resources have time to do tasks. I noticed that Jayde is on vacation, so I agreed with Justin that he is in charge of checking the language.
Then, I Instruct people to work according to the agreed process. We all already know that the progress of activities is recorded in ProjectTOP.
Finally. I made the dashboard to ProjectTOP. This gives us a real-time view of the progress of the project.