No one wants to be in the dark about how a project is going, but it can be tricky to get different team members or teams to communicate in a timely manner when everyone is focused on their tasks. Fortunately, there’s an easy, highly effective solution. Project trackers centralize the basic job information, such as deadlines, budgets, etc. Projects that use a project tracker sheet typically involve numerous tasks and smaller sub-projects that need to be completed in a certain amount of time. A project tracker sheet can help project managers stay organized and track the progress of their projects. This document type is often used for large-scale projects involving multiple teams working together, such as software development and construction projects. Using a professionally designed template for your project tracker sheet eliminates wasted time and ensures all the correct data is collected where it is most needed and valuable.
What Is a Project Tracker?
A project tracker is a system designed to monitor and record project progress. It is typically set up with a timeline, milestones, tasks, and other data points that help stakeholders track the project’s progress. The idea behind a project tracker is to provide a single source of truth for teams to measure their productivity and track their success. These tools are beneficial in business settings because they provide transparency. Teams can view the entire project timeline and quickly see where they should be regarding progress. This helps them stay on top of deadlines.
What Is a Project Tracker Sheet?
A project tracker sheet is a document used to manage and monitor the progress of a project. It is used to keep track of task completion, progress updates, resources assigned to tasks, and any other relevant information related to the project. A project tracker sheet can be used for internal and external stakeholders, giving them regular updates and visibility into the project’s progress. Still, it is most often used by the manager in charge and the people working on the project(s).
Using a project tracker sheet, project managers and team members can quickly identify issues or risks that need to be addressed to keep the project on track. Additionally, it helps to ensure that team members meet their deadlines and that the project is managed efficiently. The sheet is also helpful in tracking costs associated with the project, such as materials and labor costs. In addition, it can help project managers identify any potential issues or problems that may arise during the course of the project.
Essential Elements of a Project Tracker
The essential elements of a project tracker should be easy-to-read and understand to facilitate better communication and management. Below we’ve created an outline explaining the page’s components and how each part helps you.
- Form Title- The title clarifies what to expect on the page and makes it easier to tell this document apart from others.
- Column 1: Project- The first column in your chart should Identify individual projects. Doing this allows a project manager to keep track of multiple projects that are underway.
- Column 2: Task- Your second column should list individual tasks by name, so you and your team members know what needs to be completed. It’s best to keep these to avoid delays.
- Column 3: Brainstorming- Indicate whether the brainstorming is complete, not started, or in progress here.
- Column 4: Estimated Start Date- When should this task begin?
- Column 5: Estimated Finish Date- When should the task end?
- Column 6: Estimated Duration- How long should this task take?
- Column 7: Assigned To- Name the individual or team lead for this assignment to clarify whose job it is.
- Column 8: Task Status- List what stage the take is at and update as each step finishes.
- Column 9: Actual Start Date- When did this task begin?
- Column 10: Actual Finish Date- When did the task end?
- Column 11: Actual Duration- How long did this task take?
- (Optional) Column 12: Notes- Leaving space for added notes such as additional materials or labor needed, delays, and other essentials can help keep your projects on schedule.
Best Practices for Using a Project Tracker
The best practices for using a project tracker can help you get more out of it. Follow the simple tips below to keep your project on track, and use this tool to your best advantage.
- Preplan- Before you start the project or compile your data for the project tracker, have a brainstorming session. Note down everything you want or need to include. At this stage, you don’t need a tidy list. The tracker template can handle that part for you. Just collect your thoughts and any vital information you need in one place.
- Set Goals- Define the specific goals for your project and all of its sub-parts.
- Be Concise- You don’t need a paragraph to describe a project stage. Please give it a name that makes it clear what portion of the project you are identifying, and move on.
- Customize- Take the time to adjust your project tracker to suit your needs.
- Improve Understanding- Take the time to explain the tracker to everyone who will be using it. They should know its location, what it is for, and how to use it.
- Consistency is Vital- Make sure that everyone is using the same system for reporting and updating, so there’s no confusion.
- Update Regularly- Ensure everyone is on the same page by updating the project tracker daily or weekly. If necessary, politely remind team members who still need to give their updates to please do so immediately.
- Communicate- Keeping everyone updated on the progress and encouraging good communication can help reduce the chance of mistakes and misunderstandings. All the stakeholders should know what’s going on, including the parts they need to work on personally. Remember to update the clients as well.
- Make Data-Based Decisions- Having a project tracker is about more than recording the process. Use the information in real-time to target problem areas, order supplies, and adapt throughout.
Only some people are familiar with project trackers, even in industries where they are common. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about this topic to help you make the best use of your project tracker template. You’ll find information about other tools to use alongside your project tracker, who is responsible for the tracker, and many other helpful tidbits.
Most challenges with using a project tracker are less about the tracker itself than how people interact with it. Some common challenges with using a project tracker include:
ᐅ Poor User Adoption: If users are unfamiliar with the project tracker, they may be reluctant to use it or need help understanding how to use it properly. Unfortunately, this can lead to inaccurate data and a lack of visibility into the project’s progress.
ᐅ Lack of Integration: If the project tracker is not integrated with other tools, such as email or document management systems, it can be challenging to keep track of all the information related to the project.
ᐅ Over-Reliance on Manual Processes: If the project tracker isn’t utilized, it can lead to a lack of accuracy and consistency in tracking progress and a lack of visibility into the overall project status. Manual processes can also be time-consuming and prone to human error, leading to project completion delays. Additionally, manual processes can be difficult to scale as the project grows in complexity and size, while a tracker is more adaptable.
ᐅ Failed Monitoring or Under-Use: When project managers fail to pay attention to updates or people working on the project don’t make timely additions, it leads to project tracker failure. So long as everyone involved does their part and makes regular updates, the project tracker will help you stay on track and on time.
The frequency at which you should update your project tracker will depend on the type of project and how often changes need to be made. If you are working on a short-term project with a set timeline, you should update the tracker weekly to track progress and stay on top of any changes that need to be made. However, if your project has a longer or more complex timeline, you may want to update the tracker more frequently. You can update daily or multiple times per week—to ensure all the necessary tasks are completed correctly and on time.
Project tracker sheets can be highly beneficial for any project, regardless of size or complexity. They can be used to track progress on various tasks, such as budgeting, scheduling, task management, resource management, and other crucial aspects. Construction, website design, and software development are examples of projects that use these documents.
Yes, a project tracker sheet can be used in conjunction with other project management tools. This type of tracker is best used in conjunction with tools like Gantt charts, mind maps, and task lists to provide a comprehensive view of the project’s progress.
Yes, a project tracker sheet can be used to track project budgets and expenses. The sheet can track the budget and expenses by providing a clear overview of the costs associated with the project. This includes tracking expenses such as materials, labor, and overhead costs. The tracker sheet can also help identify areas of cost savings or potential overspending. By tracking expenses, a project manager can ensure that the project stays within its budget and that all necessary expenses are accounted for.
Project tracking is an essential component of successful project management. It allows project managers to monitor progress and ensure that each step in the project is completed on time and within budget. Project tracking also helps coordinate resources and create visibility into the team’s work, helping to identify potential problems or areas that need improvement. With project tracking, teams can keep track of deadlines, tasks, budgets, and any other relevant information related to the project. This information can then be used to understand better how to optimize resources and maximize project success.
The project manager is responsible for tracking the progress of a project from start to finish. They keep track of the project’s timeline, budget, resources, and outcomes. The project manager is also responsible for ensuring the project is completed on time and within the budget. They will need to stay on top of the project’s progress, ensuring that tasks are completed on time, and that team members are working together efficiently to reach their goals. Additionally, the project manager will need to monitor any changes or new developments that could affect the project and make sure that they are addressed and incorporated into the original plan.
To effectively track a project, all stakeholders should be involved. This includes the project manager, team members, clients, and any other third-party vendors involved in the project. All of these stakeholders should have access to the project tracking sheets to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that progress is being made. The project manager should be responsible for ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the current status of the project and any changes to the timeline or scope. Additionally, the project manager should coordinate and make sure all stakeholders have access to the same information and can provide feedback when necessary.
Project tracker sheets are a great way to keep projects organized and on track. They are beneficial for complex projects that involve multiple people or teams. By tracking progress, tasks can be assigned to the appropriate people, and resources can be allocated efficiently. These documents can also be used to measure progress against goals. Tracking the progress of each task or milestone helps ensure timely completion and excellent transparency. Using a project tracker sheet template, you can quickly and efficiently create a form for employees or teams that makes communication about your project(s) simple, reducing wasted time and the likelihood of confusion or miscommunication.