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Progress Management Technique
By Michael A. Kaplan

Progress Review

Purpose: The project team should create a sense of awareness and ownership by frequently informing management as to the status of the project. The project team should communicate outside of the project to to provide reassurance that the project is moving according to plan and that exceptions are being addressed.

Overview: All projects use some means to measure progress, which are enabled by some form of tracking process. Progress reviews are performed so that the project manager can be assured that the project is making forward progress according to plan. Information that is collected from the tracking processes is presented in reports, which are published, circulated and discussed at project reviews. It is important to draw attention to, and visibility about the lack of progress, issues and out-of-line incidents so that action can be taken early. Progress reviews are required throughout the life of the project, and are a cyclic process in project management. Reviews are key a mechanism for communicating inside and external to the project.


  • Review progress, actions, issues, and risks
  • Communicate progress to project team and sponsor
  • File meeting minutes in the Project Work Book
  • Review progress, risks, and issues

Progress Tracking

Purpose: Progress tracking is used to confirm that the project is making forward motion according to the project plan and to stay informed of changes, issues, or incidents that have arisen.

Overview: Progress tracking is needed to assure stakeholders that the project is proceeding according to the project plan. Information collected from the tracking process is communicated, and sometimes presented in the form of reports that are published, distributed and discussed at management reviews.


  • Develop processes for measuring and reviewing progress
  • Document processes for ensuring effective management of exceptions
  • Create processes for handling issues, risk, and changes
  • Measure and report on progress for all activities against plans
  • Collect financial and schedule information
  • Prepare an analysis of the progress management processes

Michael A. Kaplan is founder of SoftPMO™, a New York-based consulting firm that specializes in improving execution and resource management. He is a recognized leader in program management and serves as an advisor and mentor to senior executives. He founded MAK CON LLC, a consulting firm specializing in large-scale program management, in 2002. In 2009, he re-launched the company as SoftPMO, incorporating MAK CON LLC’s tools and methodologies into a larger enterprise program management framework.