During Project Planning, an agreed-upon baseline was established for the Project Schedule (sometimes called "action plan"). This baseline will be used as a starting point against which performance on the project will be measured. It is one of many tools the Project Manager can use during Project Execution and Control to determine if the project is on track. Project Team members must use the communications mechanisms documented in the communications plan to provide feedback to the Project Manager on their progress. It is recommended that each team member prepare a project report.
Progress Reports are used by the Project Manager to update the Project Schedule.
Is the project on track?
- Are there any issues that are becoming evident that need to be addressed now?
- Which tasks are taking more time than estimated? Less time?
- If a task is late, what is the effect on subsequent tasks?
- What is the next deliverable to be produced and when is it scheduled to be complete?
- What is the amount of effort expended so far and how much is remaining?
- Are any Project Team members over-allocated or underallocated?
- How much of the time allocated has been expended to date and what is the time required to complete the project?
When updating the Project Schedule, it is very important that the Project Manager maintain the integrity of the current schedule. Each version of the schedule should be archived. By creating a new copy of the schedule whenever it is updated, the Project Manager will never lose the running history of the project and will also have a copy of every schedule for audit purposes.
The Project Manager should begin tracking actual work in the Project Schedule as soon as the work commences, which is usually as soon as the project is initiated and Project Planning begins. Remember that updates to the Project Schedule are not limited to tracking hours worked – ANY change resulting from the execution of the change control process will usually require future tasks to be re-planned and the schedule to be updated!
If the Project Schedule is updated to reflect approved change control, a new baseline schedule must also be created. Updates must then be made against the new baseline. The previous baseline should be saved for historical purposes.
The process of managing changes to the project shedule be properly integrated with reporting of project performance, i.e the most important feature of project communication management