Maximizing Efficiency with Online Project Tracking: A Comprehensive Guide

February 11, 2024
11 min read

Projects are usually complex and delicate, demanding close oversight from project managers to ensure everything progresses as planned. Managers must stay on top of every activity to ensure no unforeseen bottlenecks impact time, budget, quality, and delivery.

Toward that end, organizations must continuously innovate to improve agility, performance, and efficiency in project management. According to the Project Management Institute, 7 in 10 professionals say their organizations invest in innovative solutions to drive project success.

Tracking is a crucial area that needs innovation, which has become imperative as managers run two or more projects simultaneously. In project tracking, manual and legacy systems don’t cut it; hence, there is a need to invest in online project tracking solutions.

With cloud-based project tracking, you get a centralized platform for monitoring progress, assigning tasks, and allocating resources, regardless of location. This allows you to move from structured work to dynamic work, which is more flexible and supports ample collaboration.

In this post, we will explore how to use online project tracking tools to improve efficiency and productivity in project management.

The Evolution of Project Tracking

Project tracking has experienced a massive shift over the years. The actual methods of tracking and management can be traced back to the 1900s when Henry Gantt and Henri Fayol invented the Gantt chart. This chart helped to monitor overlapping and its effects on project schedules.

The Gantt chart proved effective and is still used today, particularly in projects with strict schedules. In the 1950s, the US Navy introduced the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT), a fundamental methodology for managing its Polaris Missile project.

PERT involves monitoring and analyzing each task in a project to ensure successful completion. It pays more attention to the time it takes to complete each task, and it’s still used today to give a timescale for projects with a high level of uncertainty.

The 1980s and 1990s even saw an immense transformation in project tracking with the introduction of more sophisticated tools such as Microsoft Project. These tools allowed project managers to track different activities, such as milestones, resources, deadlines, costs, etc.

In the 2000s, project tracking shifted towards cloud-based solutions, enabling real-time updates, iterative workflows, and remote collaboration. Solutions like Quickbase powered this wave, delivering cutting-edge technologies to empower teams and support modern projects.

The Anatomy of Online Project Tracking Tools

Online project tracking tools are web-based applications that allow you to track and manage every aspect of your project, including milestones, schedules, tasks, issues, risks, and reports. They centralize your operations and data to provide a single source of truth and efficiency.

Quickbase Dynamic Work Management platform is a good example. It provides different features to streamline project tracking and empower teams to do more. You can use it to run complex projects, track resources, administer compliance, and automate workflows.

Key Features of Online Project Tracking Tools

While cloud-based tracking tools have varied capabilities, here are the typical features they offer to support effective project tracking:

  • Communication: Online tracking tools support real-time communication between project stakeholders, making it easy to resolve issues, share updates, and get responses.
  • Dashboards: With dashboards, you get a custom view of your essential data from different sources. This lets you consolidate vital information to keep your team on top of every task or activity.
  • Scheduling: This feature allows you to schedule events, meetings, tasks, and activities by hour, day, week, or month. This way, your team can keep track of deadlines and high-priority tasks.
  • Mobile: Tracking tools also support mobile functionality, allowing you to access your project’s tasks and data on the go. A mobile app lets you view reports, connect with team members, and edit records anytime, anywhere.
  • Resource management: This feature lets you see your team's capacity across the project portfolio. This makes it easy to build the right labor plan, balance workloads, and shift resources to improve productivity.
  • Document management: With online tracking tools, you can manage, share, and edit data, files, and attachments. You can use granular permissions to control access to the files to ensure data integrity and security.
  • Integrations: Tracking tools also have APIs to support integrations with your existing tools. This makes consolidating operations, integrating systems, connecting data, and orchestrating automated workflows easy.
  • Reporting: Every project needs reports documenting issues, milestones, performance, status, etc. Tracking tools provide reporting capabilities, allowing you to create custom reports in various formats.

You can exploit these features to mobilize your workforce, solve the most complex problems, and gain actionable insights into your processes. They also support automation, allowing you to eliminate silos and gray work for a unified system.

How to choose the right online project tracking tool

Project managers can reap different benefits from cloud-based tracking tools, but only if they select the right tool. Mckinsey reveals that up to 70% of digital transformation efforts fail for several reasons, such as poor technology choice, lack of employee engagement, etc.

The consulting firm notes that up to 55% of the value loss happens during implementation. You can minimize such outcomes by considering these factors during the selection process.

  • Ease of use: You don’t want to pick a complex tool for your team to learn and use. The right tool should have a simple interface that new users can navigate easily.
  • Customer support: While tools come with documentation and tutorials, the company must provide customer support through multiple channels to attend to issues when needed.
  • Implementation: Can the tool adapt to your existing processes? Will you need to overhaul your workflows to accommodate the new solution? Does it support different integrations? Aim for a solution that will be easy to implement without complications.
  • Pricing structure: The vendor must be transparent about the tool’s pricing, packages, add-ons, and features. If the vendor offers a free trial, use it to explore the tool’s capabilities and determine its worthwhileness and efficacy.
  • Key features: The tool must also offer all the necessary features to ensure efficient project tracking. Some great features include reporting, integrations, analytics, dashboards, task management, scheduling, and time tracking.
  • Company reputation: What do users say about the tool and the vendor? Go through user reviews to gain valuable insights into the tool. Customer feedback and reviews can help you make a sound decision.

Additionally, you should also pay attention to other factors like scalability, number of users, compliance, and security. Be sure to explore different solutions to pick one that addresses your unique project needs and streamlines tracking for effective performance.

The Power of Cloud-Based Project Tracking

Cloud-based project tracking has emerged as a powerful solution for managing and tracking complex projects. It’s even more compelling given the increase in distributed teams and the transition to remote work. More than 90% of organizations use cloud in their daily operations.

With cloud-based tracking, the application is hosted in the cloud, allowing your team to access schedules, tasks, documents, reports, and updates anytime. Here are the benefits it offers:

Real-Time Tracking

Regardless of the project size, you can track the progress and status of your projects in real time. You don’t need to make site visits to monitor progress and milestones. With cloud operations, you get real-time updates with the completion of each task. Plus, you can identify potential issues and implement mitigation measures to keep the project on track.


The biggest benefit of a cloud solution is the accessibility it offers. You can access all project-related data and materials from any device or location as long as you have internet access. This flexibility makes it easy for project managers to coordinate teams, make follow-ups, and share updates.

Streamlined Communication

Cloud solutions support communication to ensure team members can access updates and information. Team members can share files, message others, and leave comments to foster effective collaboration. This approach consolidates communication, providing a historical record for easy reference.

Data Integrity

Legacy and manual systems are known for their risk of inaccurate and inconsistent data due to a lack of control. Cloud-based solutions offer centralized storage for project data, and managers can use permissions to control actions like sharing, editing, revisions, etc. Only specific roles or people can complete certain actions to ensure data integrity.

Remote Collaboration

Projects tend to have distributed teams working on-site, in back offices, and from other locations. With cloud solutions, managers can unite all team members and stakeholders on one shared platform to foster collaboration. This improves brainstorming, decision-making, and reviews while ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Case Study: Swisscom Event Solutions

Swisscom Event Solutions is a Swiss company that provides IT, telecommunication, content delivery, and streaming media services for meetings, events, etc. The success of its projects depends on the efficient deployment of temporary integrated communication networks.

Unfortunately, the firm had challenges tracking tasks, timelines, and deadlines, which impacted project delivery. They used central servers to store and share project data, making it difficult for employees to track tasks and timelines and for non-employees to access project data.

Upon deploying Quickbase, the company implemented a project management solution that significantly boosted productivity and improved performance. This allowed the firm to manage and track 10 to 12 projects simultaneously, increasing productivity and ensuring client satisfaction.

Implementing Online Project Tracking in Your Organization

Deploying a project tracking tool in your organization can streamline your operations and improve productivity. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that embrace digital solutions and disruptive technologies have a success rate of 71%.

To ensure a successful implementation of a tracking solution in your organization, here are the key steps to follow:

1. Identify Your Needs/Challenges

Any new solution implemented in your company must have a reason. This might seem obvious and trivial, but it’s crucial to consider whether your organization requires the solution and if it fits your needs.

For example, if you have challenges tracking tasks, activities, resources, and deadlines, adopting a new digital solution makes sense. Also, a digital tracking solution is an excellent investment to ensure a structured approach if you manage several complex projects.

2. Pick a Project Tracking Tool

Once you have identified your organization’s needs and challenges, you must pick a solution that suits your processes and procedures. Pick the wrong technology, and you risk adding unnecessary complications to your processes, leading to cost overruns and poor performance.

Analyze your technology suite and determine how the new solution will fit in. Highlight the key features that the solution must have to complement your systems. Also, consider critical factors like ease of use, integrations, cost, scalability, and customizations during the selection process.

3. Set Up the Tool

Once you have picked the right tool, you must implement it. Implementation is just as vital as selecting the right tool. Apart from the learning curve, you’ll have to set up accounts, import existing projects, configure the system, and complete integrations with other tools.

You can start small with one or two departments before rolling it company-wide. This allows you to identify and fix issues beforehand. During this step, the vendor must be available and accessible to ensure a successful implementation.

4. Train Your Team

With any new tool, it is essential to prepare your employees and stakeholders for success. As such, extensive training for your team is vital to ensure seamless onboarding and encourage org-wide adoption.

In addition to the tutorials and documentation, provide on-site, online, and self-guided training to familiarize everyone with the new tools and processes. Also, ensure they have all the information they need for a successful onboarding and simple troubleshooting.

5. Monitor and Optimize

Don’t just set it and forget it. You must monitor the tool's usage and iterate processes to tune it to your workflows. Identify and list any concerns about the tool from team members and provide a fix or make adjustments to your process.

Use in-app surveys and questionnaires to get feedback from your team members, and be sure to address the most rampant concerns.

Drive Efficiency with Online Project Tracking Tools

The long and complicated journey from project initiation to completion can only be successful with the right tools. Throughout the lifecycle, there is a myriad of risks, challenges, issues, tasks, and activities that project managers must manage to ensure everything proceeds as planned.

Given the complexity of modern projects, traditional and legacy systems like spreadsheets and email don’t cut. They’re inefficient, disparate, and prone to errors, hence the massive shift to cloud-based project tracking tools.

Online project tracking tools like Quickbase can make a difference, delivering a powerful solution for building custom apps and uncovering insights. They consolidate your workflows and operations for improved collaboration and provide real-time accessibility to employees.

Quickbase offers a Dynamic Work Management platform that simplifies complex project tracking and gives you control. It also provides different features, such as dashboards, task management, Gantt charts, and time sheets, for effective project tracking and collaboration.

Start a free trial today or get a demo to learn how Quickbase can streamline your project tracking and set you on the path to success.