There are several ways by which you might track a project. You can track by costs, for example. In a cost tracking model, you manage the requirements very closely to the projected costs so that the project comes out on or under budget. (Road projects are often managed this way.) Tracking projects by costs may wind up reducing quality, though, because you get trapped in the TQB equilibrium.

Alternatively, you might track strictly by project requirements. If you' re not meeting requirements, you won 't have a deliverable! You won' t concern yourself as much with costs as with making sure that the requirements are being met according to the way they were written. In this tracking methodology, you study the activities required to accomplish a requirement, then gauge how well you' ve met the objective by its metric.

You might also track to the project plan—keeping track of the activities within the plan. There ' s a subtle difference between tracking to requirements and tracking to the project plan. Requirements might necessitate several different activities to be completed before you could say that a requirement was complete. Managing to the project plan means managing each of the activities or tasks associated with the plan rather than specific requirements. The good thing about this tracking style is that you have your finger on the pulse of virtually every component of the project. However, this isn't feasible with large projects.

You may decide to track by team member. This would be a useful method if your project had very unique deliverables that required specialized individuals. It would be especially important if one person' s work had to be finished before another person ' s efforts could begin. Dor example, you could have a web developer working on a web page and a graphics expert developing some stunning art for the entry page. The page wouldn't be available until the graphic artist was finished with the required graphics.

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