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Precision Tracking for Repeatable Processes

This post is a continuation of Precision Planning for Repeatable Processes. For more context, read that post first.

Once you have all of your tasks, times and team members planned and your resource allocation is airtight, it’s time to build your tracker. This tool will help you keep every person on task and every task on track.

In the examples cited in the previous post, we were working with BI dashboards and translation bundles. Let’s use the BI dashboard example to demonstrate how to create an effective tracker.

First, let’s use a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Be sure that whatever tool you use supports conditional formatting so we can color-code cells based on dates and other conditions.

Enter your tasks as separate columns across the top row.

Enter the name or resource role in the next row.

Enter your deliverables as separate rows in the left hand column.

Transfer the dates from each task in your plan to the corresponding cell in the tracker.

Pick a place on the tracker to enter “today’s date.” You’ll continually update this cell throughout the project. In effect, what you’ll be doing is telling the tracker what today’s date is. Based on that date, the tracker will show you which tasks should be in progress or finished.

Determine what kind of tolerance you have for late tasks. Then choose a color to represent how late a task is. Let’s say you want all the tasks that are due during the current week to show in green, tasks due the previous week to show in yellow, and tasks that are two weeks or more overdue to show in red.

Add the conditional formatting into your spreadsheet. Basically, your formula for formatting will state that a task’s cell will show in green if the task due date is between today’s date and seven days from today’s date. The cell will show in yellow if the task is within seven days before today’s date, and red if the due date is more than 7 days before today’s date. As tasks are completed, mark replace the due date with something like an x or the word “Complete.” Meet with the team regularly and follow up on their completion of tasks until all the red is green and all the green is done.