Five Key Benefits of Project Tracking in Project Management

January 4, 2024
11 min read

In our current age of dynamic work, project management is more important now than ever. To keep up with complex work, complex solutions are also needed. Dynamic work is decidedly digital-first, AI-powered, and multi-dimensional. Importantly, dynamic work also relies on collaboration and diversity of opinion to guide innovation.

But the enemy of innovation is “Gray Work,” which is the build-up of ad-hoc solutions that ultimately create more problems down the line. Gray work refers to the kinds of tedious, manual tasks that, over time, decrease workplace productivity, morale, and efficiency. In some extreme cases, gray work can also lead to redundancies, unchecked errors, missed deadlines, and client dissatisfaction. Gray work is the efficiency equivalent of taping together a leaky pipe. It works for now, but it can only lead to a deluge of issues just piling up.

Project managers have two choices. They can grab a mop and wait for the pipe to inevitably burst. Or, to continue the metaphor, they can put in a little bit of elbow grease and replace the pipe altogether, preventing future issues.

That’s where project tracking comes in. Based on the pillars of centralized project data, increased collaboration, automation, and machine learning, project tracking with Quickbase project management software leads to productivity and deliverables turned in on time. Every time.

What is project tracking in project management?

Project tracking is one piece of the dynamic work puzzle. In simple terms, project tracking is an approach to project management that uses real-time data points to assess productivity. To the well-organized project manager, project tracking is an essential part of the job. Project tracking enables dynamic teams to work in a flexible, multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder, and complex way — and they do it without breaking a sweat…or missing a deadline.

But if a team still relies on ad-hoc, decentralized project management solutions, like spreadsheets, Gray Work keeps even the most innovative teams static.

Three key aspects of project tracking.

Consider this: Project tracking is the foundation of dynamic work management. And that foundation is built on a solid bedrock of three essential components that guarantee a job well done.

Centralized project data.

While manual data systems technically work, they don’t get the job done. Connecting project data to a single, automated source of truth increases stakeholder visibility and enables increased productivity.

Outdated systems that require tedious, manual tasks leave room for the potential for unchecked human errors, duplicate work, and a whole lot of meetings that could just be emails. But automating these systems into an all-in-one project management software can make gray work fade away.

Real-time progress updates.

From ideation to execution, project tracking enables teams to deliver projects with greater speed, address roadblocks nimbly, and make deadlines, every time. It may seem obvious, but a key part of project tracking is to keep tabs on the progress of every task, at every stage, for every deliverable.

Improve Communication.

Forget workplace telephone. Efficient project tracking allows for better communication. That means everyone is on the same page — whether they’re working from the office or the field.

Call it cliche, but we do believe that teamwork makes the dream work. Or, at the very least, improves morale, increases communication, and enhances productivity. With increased transparency within a project, cross-functional teams can more easily come together to make informed decisions and work toward a common goal.

More than that, a collaborative workforce is a productive workforce. In the age of work-from-home, dynamic work management tools are essential to combat the isolation of individuals. When employees can come together as a team, they can bring their unique backgrounds to the table to create creative solutions.

Plus, collaboration leads to long-term increases in productivity at all stages of a project, as employees who feel invested in their work also feel invested in its success. We call that a win-win-win.

5 Project Ways Tracking Improves Project Management

When successfully implemented, project tracking can improve productivity at every step of the journey — no matter where it may take your team. Here are 5 different areas where effective project tracking can have a big payoff.

Stay up to date in real-time.

Unless it’s a birthday party, no one likes a surprise. Especially not a project manager.

Project managers need to be acutely aware of project timelines — both expected and actual. When stakeholders are siloed from one another, deadlines can get lost in communication and bottlenecks can build up unchecked. And it happens more often than you might think. Our research found that 64% of projects are impacted by delays. In addition, 54% reported working on projects impacted by miscommunication.

With a centralized project management software like Quickbase, project tracking is as easy as a click of a button. Project managers can tailor the no-code, easy-to-use platform to their organization’s needs. For example, the interactive dashboard includes a Gantt chart view, which is powered by machine learning, to give any stakeholders to have a real-time, bird’s eye view into any and all project details. This way, roadblocks can be dismantled before they’re even given the chance to build up.

Increase productivity.

Let’s face the facts: Even the best-laid plans of project managers often go awry. As soon as a project kicks off, the gray work starts piling up

It’s no wonder that a 2023 Quickbase report found that 50% of survey respondents spend 10 hours per week on administrative or non-value-added tasks like data entry. That’s nearly a quarter of a workweek devoted to gray work instead of tasks that could drive results for key projects!

What’s more, the same 2023 Quickbase report found that 58% of workers surveyed spend less than 20 hours per week on meaningful work. With project management and tracking software, like Quickbase, well-organized teams can centralize all documents and use software to automate and keep track of requests, progress, tasks, approvals, and milestones. This effectively erases hours of gray work.

Reducing gray work through automation and integrations within productivity software makes things easier for everyone, no matter where they fall on the org chart. Using productivity software allows frees up time that would have otherwise been spent navigating clunky systems. Instead, it allows decision-makers to focus, well, on making decisions. By reducing the amount of gray work required to accomplish basic tasks, people have more time and energy to put tasks with measurable outcomes that utilize their unique skill sets.

At the top, it enables leaders to zoom out on the big picture instead of sweating the small stuff. Without the stress of gray work, leaders have more time and energy to work on meaningful tasks like matching available resources to projects based on availability, skills, and requirements, ensuring projects are well-resourced.

Meet deadlines, every time.

Deadlines aren’t meant to be a suggestion — they’re an expectation. Still, Danish researcher Bent Flyvbjerg found that just 99.5% of $1 billion projects fail to meet budgetary, deadline, and outcome expectations. Flyvbjerg told Quickbase that project managers can get stuck in a cycle of setting outsized expectations they fail to deliver on. And they repeat this on a loop.

Following Flyvbjerg’s way of thought, missed deadlines are the direct result of human error, especially in the era of dynamic work. Project tracking software allows uers to get real-time visibility into project progress, tasks, and resources. With a clear view of every bump in the road, there’s fewer opportunities for critical project deliverables to fall through the crack.

When it comes to getting a project over the finish line on budget and on time, there’s no room for missteps.

Improve organization.

When it comes to software and systems, less really is more. A 2023 study conducted by quickbase found that, on average, workers use 10 different systems to manage a single project. And that’s just skimming the surface of all things software. More broadly, respondents reported using 77 unique organizational platforms to manage complex work.

In a 2023 report, 51% of Quickbase survey respondents report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of software solutions needed to get work done. As it turns out, having access to a glut of solutions only gums things up.

That’s where Quickbase’s no-code project tracking software comes in. Think of Quickbase platform as a hub for complex projects in dynamic industries like commercial real estate, construction, and supply chain, among others. With everything you need all in one place,it’s easy to declutter your organization’s digital processes by allowing stakeholders to find relevant assets in a timely fashion. Quickbase’s project tracking software replaces clunky, outdated apps and systems. And in the case of apps that do get the job done, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel — just integrate them into your organization’s Quickbase.

Plus, you can store all your relevant docs and data in one spot. And if you’re someone whose eyes glaze over when you see a number, don’t fret. Centralizing project data encompasses more than CSVs and pivot tables. It means that every single project-related document is in one organized location that all relevant team members can have access to.

Encourage Collaboration.

Did you know that a 2023 Quickbase report found that 65% of people feel prohibited from easily sharing project information because of using multiple project management solutions? This new era of dynamic work relies upon cross-functional, multi-stakeholders collaborating to achieve a shared goal. However, profit-driven work is stymied when assets, information, or updates become lost in a sea of disconnected software and channels.

With a Quickbase project tracking app, dynamic teams can easily come together to sync on project progress, solve problems, and share ideas. Dynamic work requires seamless communication. It also allows for a diversity in ideas communicated and approaches to problem solving, as each team member brings their own unique experiences and expertise to the table.

Real-World Applications of Project Tracking

Regardless of industry or job function, all projects can benefit from project tracking. Using AI-enabled software to track project progress increases efficiency, cuts down on gray work, and leads to better end deliverables. Project tracking can be applied across industries. The following industries and job functions are all examples where project tracking has already improved efficiencies, but with the right software solution, the possibility for increased productivity is limitless.

Fields where tracking has helped complex portfolios, tasks, and projects run smoothly:

  • Construction: Manage complex buildout projects from concept to closeout by tracking milestones, budgets, and resources.

  • Facilities management: Manage maintenance schedules, work orders, asset tracking,

  • and issue resolution.

  • Infrastructure buildout: Track milestones, budget, compliance, documents, permits & inspections.

  • Manufacturing: Oversee production schedules, inventory, quality control, and other processes through to delivery.

  • Supplier management: Track suppliers, procurement budgets, contracts, orders, payments, delivery schedules & more.

  • Service request management: Log, prioritize, and resolve service requests from employees or customers.

  • Human resources: Simplify employee onboarding process from paperwork completion to training coordination and equipment provision.

  • Information resources: Accelerate R&D by tracking studies or experiment data, enhancing collaboration.

  • Financial resources: Track and allocate financial resources like business costs, revenue, and cash flows.

Quickbase: all-in-one solution for project tracking and management

With over 20 years of experience in empowering non-coders to build sophisticated solutions to complex problems, Quickbase is an all-in-one solution for project tracking and management. Here at Quickbase, we’ve developed a proven approach to Dynamic Work that enables centralized project tracking and workflow automation at scale.

Quickbase improves productivity by allowing users to connect all existing systems and workflows to give a single view into the status, progress, and performance of ongoing projects in a matter of hours — not weeks.

Quickbase uses AI and generative learning to equip teams to dynamically solve complex problems. Quickbase encourages dynamic work through intuitive, no-code designs, drag-and-drop workflow automation, Gantt view, real-time notifications, and robust reports and dashboards. With all your data points, documents, stakeholders, and deadlines in one centralized location, collaboration and productivity increase. Plus, it helps that Quickbase is mobile-friendly and allows users to integrate platforms that they already use regularly, like Slack and Gmail.


Can project tracking be automated?

Not entirely, no. The role of a project manager, for example, can’t be automated. That said, you can automate project tracking tasks, which will improve project management efficacy and productivity on the whole.

Here are some examples of project-tracking tasks that can be automated:

  • Deadline tracking.

  • Milestone celebrations.

  • Project status notifications.

  • Review processes.

  • Budget tracking.

  • Bottleneck identification.

What is automation in project management?

Automation completes predefined processes and tasks. In project management, that means automating consistent, repeatable processes that can be time-consuming for workers. For example:

  • Assigning tasks

  • Resource distribution

  • Building cohesive workflows between apps

  • Sending notifications for various events

  • Generating reports

  • Sending invoices

  • Compliance alerts

  • Project management automation is an essential tool for firms working toward enhanced productivity, streamlined workflows, and consistent outcomes.

Never miss a post — subscribe to the Quickbase Blog.

Sign up to receive the latest posts on everything from Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation.