“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” (anonymous). Software development projects are no exception. Whether they are following a tightly controlled plan-driven approach or are developed following a component-driven approach, the progress of software development projects requires some form of performance measurement and tracking.
Once project work is underway, you want to make sure that it proceeds according to plan. To do this, you need to establish a reporting system that keeps you informed of the many variables that describe how the project is proceeding as compared to the plan.
A reporting system has the following characteristics:
Provides timely, complete, and accurate status information
Doesn’t add so much overhead time as to be counterproductive
Is readily acceptable to the project team and senior management
Warns of pending problems in time to take action
Is easily understood by those who have a need to know
To establish this reporting system, you will want to look into the hundreds of reports that are standard fare in project management software packages. Once you decide what you want to track, these software tools will give you several suggestions and standard reports to meet your needs. Most project management software tools allow you to customize their standard reports to meet even the most specific needs.
There are five types of project status ...