Section 1.5 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Project Management. Section B reads “Skill in establishing, monitoring, and communicating progress toward the achievement of goals, objectives, and milestones.”
In this article, I will describe some simple and effective methods of keeping track and communicating progress.
The first rule of thumb is to use the familiar “SMART” Goals, as described by George T. Doran in Management Review. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Having project goals that meet these criteria allows a simple tracking system to show progress toward the goals.
Another common technique is to break up the project into several steps with each one having a milestone achievement that leads to the next phase of the project.
Having finite steps of a large project allows the team to celebrate the accomplishment of each step, which leads to higher engagement and encouragement as you embark on the next step.
It is a good idea to have visible ways to show project against the goals. A simple “thermometer” chart is an effective way to demonstrate status against the goal.
The charts should be visible to the entire team, so that people all have the needed information. It is important to keep the published charts current, and when updating the chart, make sure all posted copies are suitably updated.
It is also a good idea to review progress against stated goals at periodic management review meetings. This practice gives leaders a chance to reinforce the good work going on and also gives the project managers some air time to highlight any specific points of pride or precautions that would be important to know.
One practice that often is omitted is to have a closure ceremony at the completion of a major project. People appreciate the formality of a closure meeting and celebration. The practice also makes sure everyone in the organization is aware that the milestones were met and the project is now closed.
Monitoring the progress of a talent development project is not rocket science at all. However, if the steps outlined above are done poorly or skipped, the effectiveness of the project will be significantly impacted.
Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.