Monitoring the Project

To ensure good progress throughout the project, the project manager must establish various check points (for example, partial delivery of files from translators) and occasionally contact those involved in order to anticipate any potential problems. The project manager must also coordinate terminological and technical questions, often transmitting them to the client, and distribute required information to affected parties.

File monitoring can be carried out by setting up a clear and correct directory structure on the file system (for example, Windows File Explorer), or by creating a monitoring file (with the help of a program such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project) showing the current status of each file and/or affected component. Some may prefer to use special tools designed to automatically monitor files and their status (these tools being more and more often developed in-house by translation agencies themselves).

The important thing in any monitoring is that it is not so much about the method used as it is about the consistency with which information is updated. It is in fact useless to implement a monitoring procedure if one neglects to keep data current. This update also addresses a crucial requirement in that any project must be capable of being picked up by another project manager in the event of the original project manager's absence, for example.

Let's finally examine the financial aspect. Another responsibility of the project manager is to ensure the project's profitability. Of course, it is possible to calculate the gross margin at the start of the project, particularly in the analysis phase. In principle, the project manager is already aware of the purchase price associated with most tasks and, once the estimate has been established, he may therefore calculate the "expected gross margin" of the project. However, it is also important to maintain this margin throughout the course of the project by performing financial monitoring, as variations may come into play. Indeed, some unforseen tasks come up in the course of a project: the client sends new components from time to time, different volumes than those stated in the estimate, or product updates generate additional steps. All of these changes can affect the margin, which therefore must be monitored throughout the duration of the project. Controlling the margin is sometimes handled by a superior or by a representative of a finance department manager. In all cases, it requires commitment to a proactive attitude on the part of the project manager.