If you’re a CEO, you are ultimately responsible for every deliverable that you present to your clients, regardless how many people you have working on those projects.
In almost every company, the hierarchy is built in a way that those occupying higher positions in terms of quality assurance, delivery and control take more responsibility when something goes wrong. Needless to say, since the CEO is the topmost position, everything else traces back to you.
This is why monitoring and control is important. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you should control every step of your project managers or team members: if that was the case, why would you hire them in the first place? But being informed and in control of things is still important, if you want your company to be successful and maintain a good reputation.
Here are a few solid facts to think about:
- Over 87% of high-performing companies make use of project management software.
- The most important factors in choosing which software to purchase are functionality (40%) and ease of use (24%)
- Most-used features include file sharing, time tracking, email integration, and Gantt charts
- 66% of organizations use PM software to communicate with clients
What am I monitoring again?
Since you can’t monitor EVERYTHING for obvious reasons (and the main one of those being you will simply go mad), let’s first figure out what you should be monitoring to determine whether your projects are proceeding smoothly or any intervention is needed.
Clients’ needs, wants and demands – Your top priority is to make sure that everything your team does meets and corresponds client’s needs that you have agreed on prior to starting the project. As the CEO, you probably had a meeting with your project managers to discuss planning, make any necessary adjustments and then proceed. Monitor the project from the client’s perspective and ensure that everything is going according to plan.
HINT: PM software improves customer satisfaction by 38%.
Project efficiency – next up, you want to make sure that the projects (and their tasks) are proceeding smoothly. To understand the level of smoothness, use your past data. Take an average project and look at its milestone completion rates and timings. If a project is taking around the same time and utilizes around the same resources to achieve similar milestones as before, you are doing good in terms of resource allocation, budgeting and timing.
HINT: PM software increases the number of projects completed on time and budget by 44%.
Communication – Communication is what makes or breaks projects. Literally. Look for any communication issues inside teams and address those as soon as you spot them. Even if it’s something small, you want to know what the problem is, because sometimes, trouble doesn’t start big: it builds up gradually.
HINT: PM software improves team communication by 52%.
Past deadlines – Look for any past due deadlines. Usually, deadlines get missed when there is a problem. The problems mostly come from miscommunication inside the team or if some technical difficulties arise and cause the hold up. Make sure to address those or have your project managers look into the matter.
Milestones – Usually, when dealing with large projects, they are planned in a way that include a few milestones that have to be met in certain timings, with certain workforce and budget. Since you don’t want to go too deep into each project (to preserve your sanity), simply monitor successful milestone completion and go deeper in case a milestone wasn’t met. Usually, it will be a minor issue that project managers can take care of themselves, but it might also be something big and, the faster you know about it, the better you can respond.
HINT: PM software improves the quality of the final product by 44%.
In their success story, Transitions Optical, a vision enhancing product company faced the challenge of over complex communication and team collaboration before making the shift to project management software.
“For Excel there is the problem of collaboration on the projects we manage – we had one Excel file for each project. So it was a challenge for the project lead to be able to see the big picture of all projects he or she has been managing in one spot.”
The company was in desperate need of a tool that would allow them:
- Access data and reports from a single place
- To see everything in one spot
- Highly improve communication and team collaboration
Making use of PM software allowed them to generate reports, import and export from Excel, view all ongoing projects from a single platform, collaborate and communicate with team members real time and save one hour of time on activities each day per each employee.
Why pm software is perfect for monitoring projects
Since there are a bunch of things that need a constant eye, you want to minimize the time needed to monitor everything effectively. Project management software is an ideal tool to make it all happen, all from one platform.
Since there are numerous projects to handle, take care of and deliver, you simply can’t be running around the office trying to find out everything you need to know about your projects. Holding multiple meetings with project managers isn’t a great idea either: meetings take a lot of time and usually, PMs start going into details that aren’t important for you to know.
Here is a list of most common challenges that lead companies to start using PM software for their projects:
- Capturing time/cost of projects – 62%
- Approvals are paper-based: 55%
- Re-entering lost data: 45%
- Lack of integration between tools: 38%
- No central source of project information: 35%
- Poor visibility & resource management: 31%
- Lack of visibility into work in progress: 21%
Project management software is ridiculously easy to use and gives you the option to monitor every project for all the important criteria that you need, in order to understand whether everything is proceeding smoothly:
- Check whether the results you achieved so far correspond to what you agreed on during the planning meeting and make sure that they represent exactly what your clients wanted.
- Evaluate the efficiency by making sure that projects are proceeding as planned in terms of time, budget and workload.
- All the communication can be (and should be) done via the software and it will be easy to spot any gaps or miscommunication issues between PMs or team members.
- Just by taking a quick look at every project board, you will be able to spot missed deadlines, if there are any. You can then contact your PMs to make sure that there is no serious trouble about those.
- Milestones completion is also super easy to monitor: you can have a quick look at every project’s milestones and see whether they are met.
Using project management software for monitoring project success and health will save you tons of time, energy and unnecessary effort that you will otherwise have to put in to find out everything you need about each project manually.
Moreover, PM software will help mitigate almost all of the most common problems that cause project failure including wrong resource forecasting (23%), Inaccurate task time estimates (27%), changing priorities within companies (40%) and poor communication (30%).
Also, to be effective, monitoring needs to be consistent: this means that even if you do take the effort to find out everything about each project manually, you will have to go through the same procedure again and again and again, for each project until you are exhausted.
Spare yourself some time and effort and make use of project management software: it’s the most convenient solution there is nowadays.
About the Author
Pavel is a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and a strong passion for writing. "I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if it’s everything at once."More Content by Pavel Aramyan