One of the important parameters used by project managers globally is the project tracker; a project tracker is a project tracking system in project management that helps project managers to recognize all the tasks that are required to complete a project successfully on time. It is widely used by project managers to create project plans, execute reports, and the use of timesheet.
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Project tracker: benefits in project management
A project tracker is a software that assists in monitoring how the projects are progressing so that you can identify the potential problems on time and take the corrective measures. A project tracker measures the performance of a project from time to time to identify the variance from project management so as to ensure that the project is on track as planned. A project tracking software also helps you to keep within the specified budget.
It will help you handle time and tasks efficiently and aids you in keeping track of the budget. Also, it provides a reflection of the completed stages of a project and the tasks that are yet to be completed. A project tracker typically assists the project managers to track down the scheduled assignments, resources, risks, changes, and issues to ensure that the set goals and objectives are accomplished. It is indeed a cost, time-saving and efficient project management solution for project managers, project planners, quality assurance team, IT support, and business partners.
The following are the benefits of a project tracker in project management:
- It evaluates the progress of the work done on a particular project.
- It determines the resources expended on a project: a project tracker will reveal the amount of time and other resources that have been committed to a project.
- It allows comparison: you will be able to compare the resources spent on a project and the level of the actual work done on a project to know if it is commensurate with each other.
- It helps in tracking milestone: a project manager will be able to keep a track of the achievement recorded on a project with project tracker.
Project tracking chart
A project tracking chart is very important to a project manager because it is useful in tracking the progress of a project through graphical illustration and it helps in communicating the progress of the project to the stakeholders in their bid to fulfill their mission. One of the effective projects tracking chart is the Tracking Gantt chart.
What is a Tracking Gantt chart?
Tracking Gantt chart is a timesheet that is used as a project management tool for illustrating the way a project will run in order to attain successful result at the end of the project. It provides a graphical illustration of the schedule that helps to plan, coordinate and track a specific task in a project, it is constructed with a horizontal axis depicting the duration of the project broken down into increment and a vertical axis depicting the tasks that make up the project.
How does a Tracking Gantt chart help communicate the progress of project?
A Tracking Gantt chart normally shows the original schedule and the actual start and finish times of the project activities on the bar chart. In a Tracking Gantt chart, the hatched bar that extends past the original activity’s finish time depicts the expected remaining duration of the project. Its easy-to-understand visual format makes it a vital tool for communicating the project schedule status.
Also, it is a vital communication tool that can be used by the project managers because it will allow them to showcase their understanding and allows them to demonstrate their plans and skills thereby making their proposals to be easily evaluated by their clients.
Tracking Gantt view
The Tracking Gantt view normally displays two taskbars, one on top of the other for each of the task. The lower bar will display the baseline start and finish dates while the upper bar will display the scheduled start and finish dates. For an ongoing project, meaning that the percentage of work done is greater than zero, the upper bar will show the actual start and the date through which work has been completed but in the case where the task is 100% done, the upper bar will show the start and finish dates.
The timeline units for the right portion of the Tracking Gantt view are usually displayed at top of the chart; it displays two units of time by default. You can adjust the time units to display up to three units of time. Again, you can change it so that different units of time are displayed and you can zoom out in order to get a bigger picture of the displayed tasks of a project. Also, you can zoom in to see the precise start and finish dates of the tasks by changing the timetable to weeks and days.
There are notable features on the Tracking Gantt chart and some of them are:
- Tables: the sheet portion will showcase the categories of information about the tasks which are normally in tables. The default table for the Tracking Gantt view is the entry table.
- Filters: this feature allows you to see only the task you are willing to see and when you select the filter, the sheet and chart portions of the Tracking Gantt view will display the information as defined by the criteria of the filter.
- Sorting: this allows you to sort different criteria of the tasks from the Tracking Gantt view.
- Grouping: it allows you to group your tasks.
Uses of Tracking Gantt view
- It helps to see how tasks are progressing across time and evaluate the slippage of tasks in project management.
- It allows you to have a graphical view of the tasks at the same time have access to comprehensive information about the tasks.
- It enables you to view the dependencies between tasks and view the personnel and other resources assigned to some tasks.
Tracking Gantt vs. Gantt chart
The standard Gantt chart normally displays the information about all tasks, milestones, and linkages of a project in a graphical manner. The information is always on the left side of the task sheet while the Tracking Gantt normally displays the baseline as well as the Actual information on the project.
Also, on the Tracking Gantt chart, if the Baseline is not saved, you will only see the Tracking Gantt view in a thin version of the Gantt chart with the percentage completion instead of the resource name by the side of the tasks.
Furthermore, the Gantt chart by default does not display the critical path while Tracking Gantt normally displays the project calendar for its non-working time by default. An advantage that Tracking Gantt is this, when you make some adjustments to the project, the bottom half of each bar does not move as it is the baseline while the top half will move based on the changes made hence, it is easier to view the impact of the changes on the whole project with Tracking Gantt compared to Gantt chart.
The importance of the project tracker in project management can never be over-emphasized; it makes the tasks of project managers easier and helps in tracking and communicating the progress recorded in a project thereby ensuring the optimization of resources so as to achieve the desired objectives and goals of the project.