From what I read, it sounds like you have an "inventory" that you review as much as you need to to stay current.
It appears that you have areas (a list of names) that you review to trigger your next actions. ("Am I still waiting?" "Should I call again to check in?")
Whether you need to incorporate the "projects" in with your outlook system or not will be up to the ease of review. Try it both ways, the current way of reviewing and an integration of the sort you describe in your note.