During the lifecycle of any project, there exists different stages through which the project has to undergo. A project usually undergoes 4 stages through its cycle to completion, namely;
- Project Initiation
- Project Planning
- Project Execution
- Project Planning
In the case of our project, the project is in its execution stage. However, it is of grave importance that before our project enters its final stage, Project Closure, we monitor the progress of the project to ensure it coincides with the projects goals and objectives.
In order to effectively monitor this project, we have to gain enough information on the project in order to understand and anticipate when and where may become significant enough to license curative actions. This can be achieved through utilization of consistent project status reports and reviews.
Project Status Reports and Project Status Reviews
As mentioned earlier, project status reviews need to be conducted regularly. For our project, the ideal time-period between project status reviews would be weekly. Since the project execution is being conducted by a third party contracted to develop the software for us, the vendor is supposed to deliver a project status report on a weekly basis, entailing the progress, concerns and/or complications that they have encountered in the development of the program. After the report is delivered to our team, the team will conduct a project status review based on the information availed to us by the vendor and our set project objectives and goals. There are a number of areas that will be addressed in the project status reviews.
The Big Picture
The project manager will present an overview of the current or latest status of the progress of the project. This will give the project team the picture of the overall status of the project with respect to the set project objective and goal. This is in terms of deliverables, the project time-line and the initially set work based structure (WBS)
Major Project Concerns
Here the major concerns and arising problems associated with the project are highlighted. In this case, the project concerns will emanate from the project status report delivered by our vendor. Issues that require clarification from the team that were raised by the vendor would appear in this section. The progress will be reflected against the set project time-line to see if the project time deadline is being adhered to by the vendor. If any concerns are present, valid reasons will be sought after at this stage.
Identification of Variances from the Project Plan
This would be the main reason and purpose of the project status reviews. This is essential to identify the areas where the project has deviated or varied from the original project plan in order to institute corrective measures to steer the project back on track. The corrective actions to these deviations may not be formulated during the status meeting, but the identification of these variances will trigger the formulation of problem teams to solve and tackle each problematic area. In our project, the vendor will be given all the available resources to steer the project back on track.
Review of Project Challenges and Risks
Once the variances have been identified, the team will engage in a review of the potential challenges and risks associated with our project. This will help our team identify any potential knocks and bumps that may slow down our project at its present stage. This will ensure that the team is prepared for any eventualities of the occurrence of near-term risk. A response team is set on stand-by in case of such an occurrence.
It is crucial that the team focuses on the immediate milestone as while the ultimate goals of the project are important, the immediate milestone present will determine the development and progress of the project.
Project Cost Status and Schedule
A review of the project schedule and cost status is essential to help ensure the project is operating within the intended time line and budget. We will choose to employ the Zone Tracking Method or the EVM Tracking Method. This will mean that the team evaluate the cost control and schedule charts that are associated with our project. This will help us determine underlying variances and institute corrective measures as required. We will also examine metric trends and remedy them. This will ensure the prevention of unsustainable growth of cost or schedule problems.
Product Development Status
This is where the technical development of our software is scrutinized. The vendor will have to display a prototype of the progress of the software. This is done to ensure that the product or software development is line with the agreed upon specifics.
This whole process will help the team keep tabs of the progress of the software, identify any problem areas and variances from the project schedule and cost plan, and help anticipate any future problem areas and come up with strategies and sub-teams meant to tackle these problems in the event of their occurrence.