Monitoring the progress of a project is an exercise in gap analysis: Where are we now? Where do we want to be?
The answer to the second question has been established by your project plan. At any given point in time, you know from your project plan where you want to be: You want all of the tasks that are scheduled to be completed by that day to be completed.
To answer the first question (where are we) the project team records "actuals": Date the task was started; Date the task was finished; Estimated percent complete if the task is started but not finished.
The recording of actuals and subsequent gap analysis provide the foundation for status reports to project stakeholders. Links to our status report template and to guidelines for completing the status report are provided below.
In the course of executing the project plan and monitoring progress, sometimes something comes up that you realize someone needs to do -- but it was not in your project plan. As long as it is minor (i.e., it does not invalidate the rest of the project plan), you can manage it as an action item.
Action items are logged and tracked to closure just like the tasks in your project plan. A link to a simple Excel spreadsheet that can serve as your Action Item Log is provided below.Guidelines for using the Status Report template