It is important to keep your writing organized. I use a Word document to let me know what part of the project I have finished and what I still need to do. I have sections in the document.
The first identifies the work, gives the title, the premise, the log line and so on. The second identifies the first milestone. This, for me, is character development.
The first milestone is the background information. This is the point where I create the character sketches for each character. I so so by completing a character chart. So, I create a table of the characters with these headings: No., Name, Date Completed, Age, Birth Date, and Notes. I list all the characters in the table. Then I complete the information in the table as I complete each character sketch. There are other things in this section. It is home toe setting development and world building (if required) and so on. These are subheadings in the section.
The second milestone is plotting. Pantsers usually do not deal with this as they do not create a plot before sitting down to write. I find plotting the action first helps me to figure out where I am going with the story. I often find I need another character at this point, so I can create one if needed. I add to the table and sketch the character as needed. Milestone three is writing the piece. Milestone four, revision, follows. Milestone four is predictably followed by milestone five, which is publication. I self-publish, so I have subsections in this one for that purpose. I created this document by analyzing my writing process. I identified the things I always do and the order I do them in. It was a long process, creating the document, but it lets me know where I am in my process.
To recap, my project control sheet has five sections. The first section details the project title, premise, and so on. The second through fifth sections detail four milestones in the project. The first milestone deals with the background work I do for the project. This includes character development, worldbuilding, and plotting. The second milestone is writing the first draft. The third is the revision process. The fourth and final milestone concerns publication.
It is my process. It works for me. It might work for you, or it might not. I advocate it because I like to know where I am. I am like that on road trips as well. Knowing where you are helps you to find where you want to be. The project control document does not replace the plot or anything. It lets me know where I am in my process. If you like deadlines, you can add that to your document. It is one method. I do not use deadlines in the project control document. But I know it is a possibility that may help others, so I mention it here. You can use it or not as you choose.