As soon as you take on projects, you schedule them ahead in time. Depending on how your projects go, you will gradually find out whether you have scheduled enough hours. But, if you let this run its course, 2 painful situations can occur. If you have scheduled too tight, you will not have enough resources available because your employees are already assigned to other projects. If you have scheduled too much, employees will spend a lot of time with their hands crossed.
To prevent these situations, it is crucial to measure the progress of projects, so that you can make timely and effective adjustments. Curious how you do that? Then read on quickly.
Ways to measure progress
There are 3 ways to measure project progress.
1. Weakest way
In this situation, progress is not measured, but determined based on the scheduled hours. For example, a project is scheduled for 100 hours. Then you look at how many hours have been spent. Then, if 40 hours have been spent, assume 60 more hours are needed to complete. This is the weakest way to measure progress, because we all know that spending is rarely linear with progress.
2. Better way
Here you measure the progress, but you determine the progress based on the past. For example, if the 100 hour project is 60% done, then you assume that the remaining 40% of the project will be done in 40 hours. Yet we all know that past results are no guarantee for the future and in this way you can get wrong expectations about when the project will be finished.
3. Best way
It is best to have the “estimated time to complete” for every project. In addition to measuring progress with a percentage of completion (the past), you will estimate how much time is still needed to complete it (forecast of the future). This gives you the most accurate estimate of hours that are still required.
Adjust based on progress
As soon as you have insight into the progress of your projects, 3 situations can occur.
1. Progress and scheduled hours are linear
In this case, the progress of the project exactly matches the budgeted and scheduled hours. In other words, this project is progressing as planned and you don’t have to do anything about it.
2. Less capacity is required than reserved
In this case, time is freed up. For example, “estimated time to complete” is 10 hours and someone is scheduled for 40 hours. This means that the person can be freed up for 30 hours to spend on other activities or projects.
3. More capacity is needed than scheduled
So here you have to schedule extra resources to prevent that the project cannot be completed because you no longer have employees available. You must quickly start claiming extra hours for the employees who are working on your project or possibly schedule additional employees.
So, with insight into the progress of your projects, you always know whether you have enough hours scheduled for the future. This way you can find room for current projects and you know when you have room to take on new projects. Do you want to accelerate or are current projects in danger of getting stuck? Then provide a clear insight into the progress and “find” the time that can be used more effectively. In other words, this way you will be able to make time.