Measuring Progress

Why Measure Progress?

Picture this- Long hours being spent every day at office, completely tired and stressed at the end of the day; staff is running helter-skelter answering critical and urgent calls from customers- dousing one fire after the other. Does that resemble your office?

If no one seems to work to a plan but is in a reactive mode, attending to issues as they come, and in spite of all the hard work if you find that you are getting nowhere close to what you set out to achieve and probably have no idea where you are today, then it is very likely that you are not measuring progress.

What is it and what is its significance?

During our school days we regularly received our Progress Report Card.  It indicated clearly how we fared in all the subjects, and we took actions based on the report. Just like in school where our progress was measured against targets, in business too we need to measure progress against targets.

So the first step is to identify our goals or expectations and then to keep track of our progress towards the goals. Leaving business without regular measurement of progress is akin to parents who do not review the progress reports. What happens to such a student is obvious, they are either retained in each class for more than a year or just drop out of school. Similarly in business if progress is not measured, monitored and improved either our competition will overtake us or the business may eventually die.

Key Benefits:

Progress measurement is the key to business and personal success.  From an external view point, progress not being measured impacts timely completion of projects and/ or failure of business.  From an internal perspective it bogs down the owner/ promoter with excess work and stress thus severely impacting growth and scalability.

Moving from Head to Paper:

Let me explain with a simple example how this stress builds up.  Let’s say you own a truck and have been assigned to transport goods from Shimla to Kanyakumari in a specified period.  If that’s the only business you had, then there was all the time in the world to keep in touch with the truck driver then you would typically do a wonderful job by tracking progress and ensuring that the truck delivers goods on time, in good condition to the receiver in Kanyakumari.  Progress measurement is all in the head, but what happens if you grow big to own 10 or 100 trucks and have to move goods from different parts of the country to various destinations; in such a case the old method of keeping all information in one’s head will not work.  One can imagine the amount of stress, the chaos and inability to manage the project.  The answer to come out of this mess is simple, to get all that is in the head to paper and then to track status in a time bound manner.  In very simple terms this is what we call “Measuring Progress”

A Simple Example of How to track

So how would we go about this?  We would list out all the trucks, their starting point and time and the destination and expected arrival time.  We will also define the route that each truck has to take and we will simply go about keeping track of the status by monitoring by the day or the hour as the case may be.  In case any truck is running behind schedule, the reasons for the same is found out and due corrections made in order to catch up.  We will also go about defining the responsibilities of all the personnel involved, be it the driver or his assistant, the mechanics who maintain the trucks, the logistics personnel who plan and provide information, the office staff involved in the start and destination offices and the people responsible for the MIS (Management Information System).  By defining all this, keeping track of status and by making the information transparent across all people involved we develop a clear robust system that is not dependent on one person.  An organization that is devoid of such a system will have one person in whose head all information resides, and I call this person the hero.  Such organizations are run with the smartness of the hero and if the hero is sick or not available the whole project is in jeopardy. It is always better to have a process and systems driven organization than one that is run by heroes.

Apply to your Business:

We can extrapolate the truck example to any other business, like starting a hospital, launching a new garment label, setting up a machine shop, developing a web marketing portal or starting a restaurant.  In all these cases there is a starting point, which could be conceptualizing and designing;  to the end point, which could be to begin delivery of products or process.  And all these projects will have definite stages that have to be reached at defined intervals of time; and proper resources and support need to be provided.  It is essential to define all this and monitor the progress to ensure that the end is reached on time with optimum utilization of resources.

Now it is clear to us that for measuring progress we need to transfer all that is in our head to paper, we need to clearly define the start and end points and various stages of the project.  Responsibility for each activity has to be defined and monitored. Actions have to be taken in case of any step or activity is lagging.  This process will also throw up lot of data or intelligence in order to learn and improve the way we conduct business.  With such a system in place, not only can we ensure that the project is on time with optimum utilization of resources, but we can also easily scale up the business or have the time to set up another business.

To track progress quite often there is no requirement of advance ERP systems or computer programs; but we can use simple word or excel files.


Looking busy and stressed may be perceived as a measure of success by some people; however the smart businessperson will move in the direction of progress, by continuous measurement of progress and taking action.  It’s not how busy or stressed one is that indicates success, but how one is progressing is a measure of success.

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  • He has personally mentored 550 individuals.
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Jaibheem Deshpande, Vice President- BD (Training Division)

Jaibheem Deshpande has more than three decades of professional experience. His expertise is in driving Shop Floor Excellence and working with young managers to enable both process improvement and continuous people development. During the last three decades Jaibheem worked in multiple roles in Operations, People development and as Human Resource Manager in many multinational companies, including the TVS group and in CK Birla Group heading Learning and Development for two plants.

He has the unique combination of Technical and Human Resource domain specialisation and has delivered superior results to organizations by being a solid business partner to business heads and CEO. He is very passionate about People Development and in Mentoring individuals and groups. He has received several awards during his career and is certified in Out bound training and Facilitation


Abraham has more than two decades of experience in Quality Management and Operations, including designing quality, environmental and health & safety management systems, managing industrial engineering activities and heading a Plant.  He is an expert auditor of quality systems and in working with teams to implement robust processes that is sustainable.  Having worked in Aerospace and Automotive industry he understands the Industry requirements and is very meticulous in his approach in implementing the required standards.  He is also a trained Lean practitioner and support training and implementing Lean Manufacturing Systems. He also conducts Yellow belt Six Sigma training and supports Green belt training.

M.BALAJI, Principal Consultant, Management Systems

Balaji is a Mechanical Engineer with four decades of experience with the last thirteen years in Management consultancy.  His expertise is in Management Systems, with extensive experience in training, auditing and supporting implementation of Quality and Environmental Management systems.  He is also a qualified tool designer from NTTF and GTTC.

Balaji keeps abreast of the latest changes in international standards for implementing quality management systems and is a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 22163. Also auditor for  IATF 16949.  He is a  Lead Assessor for EXIM Bank award for Business Excellence model .  With more than a decade of experience in management consulting, he has conducted 600 man-days of training and 250 man-days of audits; working with more than 35 clients.

Pradeep Kumar, Chief Executive

Pradeep Kumar has about three decades of professional experience against his name.  With multi-location and multi-cultural exposure paired with a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma & Lean, Pradeep’s core expertise comes from over a decade of specialization in a large multinational manufacturing company. He is a Certified MBB in Lean and Six Sigma by SBTI, Texas and trained by Mckinsey Consultants as a Lean Practitioner in Rock Hill-USA.

He currently works with large multinational companies, helping them drive Operational Excellence and implement lean strategies. Pradeep also guides senior leadership towards excellence in execution. He has trained candidates in Lean & Six Sigma in India, China, Japan, Thailand, Europe, Middle East, Sri Lanka and the USA; and mentored more than 500 Engineers and Managers in Lean & Six Sigma in India and overseas.  His expertise lies in understanding gaps in current systems, designing more effective processes and mentoring teams to swiftly achieve organizational goals