Project Tracking

Track Your Projects With Ease

Our Installations Manager was always stressed out. He would look at his control board and wonder if it was all up to date. Where was he up to with each of his installations? “Didn’t Joe finish that Smithfield job last night? If he did, we can allocate him to the rush job on the north side this afternoon. But, if he did, why isn’t it marked off as finished on the board?”

No wonder he has grey hair…

What this situation needs is a database system that will track all his projects clearly, accurately and with no fuss. Tracking projects can be a very critical exercise. Here are some of the criteria that are important:

  • It should be possible to view all of the active projects to get the overview of things. Any non-optimum situations, like follow-ups not done on time, should be immediately obvious. At this level, you should simply be saying to yourself: “OK, the first 5 are on track, but No. 6 needs attention.”
  • For precise information on any project, one should be able to view all of the details of that specific project; looking at what steps have been completed, when they were done and by whom, along with any detailed notes and other documents.
  • If there are different project types involved, you should be able to view them in groups. Consider the installation of Solar Panels, as opposed to the installation of Heat Pumps; you should be able to look at just the Solar Panel projects, for instance.
  • For comparison purposes, you should be able to view all your past projects – those that have been completed – by date, project type, install team, etc. Perhaps you are looking at the time it is taking one particular installation team to do each job, compared with how long other teams have taken in the past.

A project-style service or product delivery program can be quite complex. The essence is to ensure that those who are controlling the operations have the necessary data at their fingertips and that it is in a useful format. A well-designed database can do exactly that.

It is useful to run such projects from the same database that contains the customer and prospect information. A project is normally originated by the sale of the service or product to a Customer. More specifically, it the sale is to a particular person (Contact) within that Customer. The relationships already exist.

So, when a sales person is talking to a prospect, they are actually working with a “future project”. The sales person is talking to them about the sale, so they can be completing details of the proposed project as they go. They will be nailing down the product/service type, model, size, install date, price, etc.

It may not be a sale yet, but this is awfully useful information for an Installation Manager to review these future projects. To know what projects are potentially coming up, and when, is critical to the planning for future resources, install teams, components, etc.

It’s not rocket science to know that automating such complex operations is far superior to trying to keep track of them on paper, or in your head!

(Return to Database Tips)