Managing a project can get real hairy real quickly. Look at our own process as an example:
- We begin with a great idea – taken from our storehouse of great ideas, Jira, of course.
- We talk through of how we think it should work within our context.
- We write out the details of what we think should be done.
- We break down the stuff that needs to get done into small segments – 8-to-16-hour work-items.
- We figure out the skills needed for each of these work-items.
- We use a Gantt Chart to set up Tasks.
- We assign those tasks to various people using a Resources mechanism.
- We get to work.
Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, not at all. Yes, all the pieces are in place, but how do we know how things are going on a day-to-day basis? For example, someone takes off for a day fo personal reasons – how do we know about that? And how do we figure out how that will affect the project? If you’re anything like a typical team, there are always other things that intrude on your work – customer issues, tech issues, laptop failures, you name it. And they all impact someone’s ability to deliver on the tasks they have to work on. Yes, they may have a nice dashboard that shows what they should be working on today. And they may even have ways ot marking those things as Done when done. But that’s when things are done – what about when things are being done? How do we know if things are slowing down?
The best way we’ve found is to do the following:
- Begin with setting the number of hours each assignment takes, right in the assignment
- Break the assigned hours across the days that someone’s to work on the task – say, 4 hours a day for 6 days if it takes 6 days to deliver
- Get everyone to track the hours that they spend on each of their task, every day, using an effect time-tracker
- Get people to report PTO requests regularly
- Report the hours spent on each task against the hours that should have been spent by now, based on the daily breakdown and the time-tracked hours
- Talk to people when these hours don’t match, help them fix things early.
With this simple mechanism in place, you can tell if things are slowing down, very early in the game. You can tell ahead of time if your project needs more people, more time, more money, a new laptop, whatever. That’s how you can make sure that your project management is actually working.
Now, you can do all of this and more using PK4 TimeTracker and our Project Management add-on.
- With the Gantt chart, you can plan your whole project out, with work-breakdown at a Task level.
- You can then assign those tasks to various people having multiple people doing things on each task, if needed.
- People can use the Tasks tab to track when they need to do, as can you for your project.
- Everyone can request and track PTO requests as they come up.
- People can report the time they’ve spent on each task – they can use Salesforce, a web app, a mobile app, Jira, Slack or a Chrome Extension to report time worked.
- If you have stages in your project, you can track those stages for each task on the Kanban Board.
- You can see who’s working on what, what days they’re overloaded on, what days they’re on PTO – all via the Resources tab.
- You can set up any number of Salesforce reports to track work-breakdown and time at every level of detail.
The key thing in all this is that you can track tasks as they get done, based on the time that people report for each task assignment. This gives you a much clearer idea of how things are going than jotting down notes during meetings.
Hopefully, this will get you sleeping better.
P.S: Check out the details of Project Management here.