Tracking milestones and burn rate

I am a big fan of simple and elegant dashboard tools. Jim Fowler, Interim VP of Business Development at Carbon Design Group, one of Seattle’s premier full-service product development consultancies, shared the method that they use for reporting actual-to-budget resource burn rates and mapping them to milestone delivery.

With this tool, hours and expenses are updated at the end of each day. The dashboard is used internally by all project managers, and reviewed weekly in an all-company meeting. It is reviewed as part of the normal client/Carbon project review meetings. The reporting frequency can be increased if the client desires, but it is typically done on a weekly basis.

Carbon Project Dashboard

This sort of reporting out tool is exactly what a client needs—the status and health of the project is immediately and intuitively obvious. According to Jim, it has been very well received by clients. Additionally, it has been used as a sales tool to indicate one of the tools Carbon’s PMs use to communicate with the client.