monitoring phase of a project
How much monitoring is too much monitoring when it comes to project management? Should there be a limit to how frequently the project plan can be changed?
While monitoring is important to ensure that the project stays on track, too much monitoring can be counterproductive and lead to micromanagement. Depending on the scale of the project, I think check-ins should be at least twice a week, at the beginning and end of the week. In the traditional 5-day work week, for example, there could be a team meeting on Monday to go over the goals for the week and again at the end of the week to go over how things are progressing. There should be a limit to how often changes can be made to the project plan to avoid team frustration and setbacks to project milestones. It is also important to establish clear communication channels and expectations for reporting progress. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and will reduce the need for over-monitoring." As for changing the project plan, I would say it should only be done when necessary and with careful consideration of the potential impact on the project timeline and budget.
As mentioned by @Dke2 too much monitoring will lead to micromanagement. Every PM has a responsibility to monitor the team as well as the progress within a project. There also needs to be a sense of trust, in which PM trust that the team is capable to do the project and make the appropriate deliverables. Meeting can be held every week for team status updates to ensure that the project stays on track. Micromanagement can cause distress in the team and can actually slow progress. As for changes in the project, yes there should be limit to how many times a project can change but that is also dependent on stakeholder needs so project teams need to be flexible. Despite being flexible too many changes can deter the progress of a project so clear communication with PM and stakeholders.
The exact limit always depends on the intensity and urgency of the project as @Dke2 mentions. Urgent and business-critical projects should have meetings every week to ensure everything is on track to be completed by the due date. Less urgent projects can have meetings and deadlines at carrying instances as these do not affect the business as much. In my experience, many times, the frequency of the meetings changes often. My team had a weekly meeting to discuss the status of one of our projects, but since the business-critical project was moving slowly, because of implementation, it was deemed that a weekly meeting would not be a good use of time; therefore, as long as the implementation process took place, the team decided to meet once a month, but for an extended period of time to discuss the changes and updates from the previous month. This helped the team as we were able to focus our time and energy on other projects that had higher priorities throughout the month. The business-critical project still was completed on time and the team was able to handle additional projects as well. Because of this, I don't think there should be a limit to frequency as long as the project is moving along nicely and the necessary items are being completed.
It is valid to say that too much control leads to micromanagement. The team will be suffocated by the fact that the PM is on you all the time. This will create counterproductivity since the team will feel constantly watched. Meetings are important because they could be brought to the table what needs to be improved, the progress of the project, and how we can accomplish the expectations in a timely manner. Boundaries should be applied so the project does not slow down. It is crucial to keep informed the manager every step of the way, and by that, we can schedule meetings to discuss what is expected and what is actually happening. Also, I don’t think there should be a limit to how frequently the project plan can be changed. It is possible that we need to change it multiple times if the PM is new but it could impact the project badly since we might not be able to finish the project on time or overbudget it.
It appears that everyone agrees on the importance of balancing monitoring and control in project management. An example of this balance is imagine if you are managing a software development project to development mobile. Let's say it has a tight timeline and a fixed budget and it's critical to the company's growth strategy. To ensure the project stays on track, you implement a rigorous monitoring and control process. This includes daily status meetings, weekly progress reports, and detailed task tracking using project management software. One issue that you notice overtime is that team members were actually spending more time updating their progress reports and attending meetings than actually doing the tasks. This leads to delays and frustration among team members, which then affects the project's quality and morale. In this example, the monitoring and control process may have been too intensive and created unnecessary overhead. This in turn reduced the team's productivity and motivation.
From personal experience, balancing monitoring and control with productivity and motivation requires significant experience and trial and error. There were times where I had to scale back or increased my monitoring and control. My solution would be to adjust every significant milestone in a project appropriate to the project's size and complexity. This can be reducing the frequency or duration of meetings, streamlining reporting processes, or even delegating the monitoring and control tasks to the team members.
I agree with the previous responses that too much monitoring turns into micromanagement, which is counterproductive and makes it harder for the team to complete their work. However, monitoring is still an essential part of project management. Monitoring through different means, i.e., updating documentation, requesting approvals for changes, budgeting, etc., is important so that the project team can identify and mitigate any issues that may arise that affect the project development, budget, or timeline. I do not have industry experience to say for sure, but monitoring the overall progress of a project and seeing if deadlines are met seems beneficial; but monitoring things like how employees are doing their tasks, planning out every task for your employees, or even holding too many and too frequent status meetings may be harmful to the project. That being said, I don’t think there should be a limit as to how frequently the project plan can be changed. I think the frequency of change is entirely dependent on the project and what it requires. A lot of components can change during project development — budget can increase or decrease, stakeholders may request new design or more functionality, research may give unfavorable results — and to deal with these new requirements, it’s necessary to make changes to the project plan. Changes aren’t always bad and sometimes they can work in the favor of the team.
I agree with the other posters here about the dangers of micromanagement when it comes to ensuring the quality of a product/project. Oftentimes well-meaning PMs cause more harm than good in their attempts to verify & validate that deadlines are being met. The remedy for this lies in structured verification checkpoints in the project timeline. With these deadlines in mind, outside of the actual client/project deadlines; members of the team will have structured goals to work towards that reduce the overall load on the project.