Project Tracking When You Must Finish on Time!

Process control project tracking gives project managers the critical advantage with time-critical projects.

Process control project tracking gives project managers control for time-critical projects
  • Firstly: Early warning of a likely late finish or early finish.
  • Secondly: Up-to-the-minute comparisons of project plans with actual progress.
  • Thirdly: Visual updates on schedule gains and losses, easily understood by everyone.

Monitor Progress With Process Control Project Tracking

The process control project progress chart (also known as a Schmidt Chart) is similar to statistical process control charts for manufacturing quality control. Because the chart puts current performance into historical context, everyone with an interest in the project can see immediately how actual progress compares to the original plan.

The example below charts progress for a project with original plans calling for a 32-week critical path. Unfortunately, this project ultimately took almost 39 weeks to finish. Note especially, however, that the progress chart warns early in week-8 that a late finish is very likely.

As a result, the project manager can make either of two possible responses to this kind of warning:  First, the PM can add resources and effort, to bring project progress back on schedule. Or, secondly, the PM can simply let management know that the project is going to finish late.

Example project progress chart

An example project progress control chart. The original plan calls for project finish in 32.5 weeks. However, the control chart warns in week 8 that a late finish is likely. The Actual Progress line slope shows everyone that tasks consistently take longer than the plan. If management takes action at the first warning, in week-8, an on-time finish probably would have been possible.

Read the full IEEE article Statistical Process Control for Project Progress Charting online.

Where to Go From Here: Project Tracking— Take Action!

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