Be prepared for the next project status meeting with your client: this easy project meeting checklist will save you time.
How To Easily Keep Track Of A Project
First-time project managers and experienced managers alike want one thing: closing a project successfully.
Before you do that, you’ve got to keep track of how the project is going.
If you find a consistent and effective way to keep track of a project, then it’s easier to understand if you’ll close it successfully, or to correct the course before something goes wrong.
This is how you keep an eye on a project and track its success.
Start well before you track
Before we even begin to list all the ways you can successfully keep track of your project, I have a recommendation.
You have to make sure that every project starts on the right foot. That means adopting project management best practices early on, that will guarantee at least some sort of order and a framework to monitor progress.
Failing to plan a project early on can be a mistake that you drag with you util the very end.
The best practices to start a project on the right foot include:
- Always working on a written contract;
- Assigning roles and responsibilities from the beginning;
- Planning every phase and deadlines;
- Having a kickoff meeting with the parties involved.
- Choosing the right monitoring tools (more about this below)
This, of course, will not guarantee that the project will be smooth sailing. But, it will give you a good chance!
Before my current job at Timeneye, I have worked as a project manager at digital agencies for 4-ish years, and believe me, I could already tell which project was going to be a bloodbath the moment I was told “Yes but this project is an exception” to our best practices in the company.
Tip#1: Use Tracking Tools
So now that the project is up and running, how do you keep track of it?
First suggestion: have technology help you.
Especially if you work on multiple projects at the same time, it’s humanly impossible to keep track of everything. So, take advantage of the many project management, task management, and time tracking tools.
Project management tools like Asana, Basecamp, and ClickUp will allow you to create your project plan, and all the tasks needed to complete it, and assign each phase or task to each team member.
Most project management tools will offer a sort of “Dashboard” or recap where you can see at a glance all your project statuses – which is crucial when you juggle many projects! It’s also useful for the team members to have a place where they can see all of their tasks and deadlines.
Time tracking tools like Timeneye are built for project tracking. I’m obviously biased towards Timeneye, but the thing is, Timeneye was created in our company exactly because we had many projects going on and we had no idea how we were using our time.
In Timeneye, there’s a project status dashboard where you can see all the time you tracked for the project, and if you’re on track with the budget.
Tip#2: Make Updates Automated
What’s the number 1 time thief?
OK, yes, meetings, but also what’s the other big-time thief? Repetitive tasks.
This includes checking dashboards daily, downloading data, organizing material… All these tasks can be automated successfully!
By automating as many tasks as possible not only you’ll free time from your busy manager schedule. You’ll also optimize the whole project management process, making sure you don’t miss repetitive but crucial tasks, like running reports.
Timeneye, which we have mentioned for the time tracking, features, also offers a weekly email recap.
The weekly email recap is sent every week to the project manager, and includes some insight into how people have worked on different projects:
Another useful feature is that Timeneye offers fully automated reports.
You can schedule any report and receive it automatically in your inbox. When you need to regularly check a project’s status, isn’t better when the software is basically doing the work for you?
Another popular way of automating work is Zapier. If you don’t know it, Zapier is a service that connects different software using trigger actions. Basically, with Zapier you can build any integration you like – fully automating the most repetitive parts of the work.
Tip#3: Check-in Regularly
Ok, nobody likes meetings. And nobody likes to work with a boss breathing on their next.
However, it’s always better to regularly check-in with the team to see how the projects are doing.
Here at Timeneye, we do weekly company meetings, so everybody knows who’s been working on what. With also have biweekly one-on-one meetings. I’ll admit that this works for us because we’re a rather small company.
Nevertheless, making sure you keep a bird’s-eye view of the progress is a good idea. That doesn’t mean involving your clients in every single meeting and every single check-in. Too many meetings waste time after all. That doesn’t mean nobody should check in with the team, ever.
A few golden rules for having successful and productive project update meetings:
- Only set meetings when updates are necessary;
- Send out a meeting agenda;
And to avoid wasting time:
- Set a time limit (and track how much time you spend in the meeting);
- Keep it brief and to the point;
- Don’t forget to send meeting notes/ to-dos afterward to all the people involved.
Striking a good balance between regular updates, automating tasks, and using project tracking tools is the best way to monitor a project.
And you can start today, by signing up for a free Timeneye trial!