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Project Management metrics

Project Management Metrics

Using Project Management Metrics can help drive performance

Metrics are a technique that is used to analyze business processes and performance – they are used to analyze something that’s quantifiable (i.e. not subjective). Individual metrics are often grouped into balanced scorecards in order to get a performance snapshot of a variety of activities. Using metrics to help govern project management activities can be a highly effective technique in measuring performance and highlighting gaps in the running of the project.

While you can analyze whatever you like when your looking at Projects there are some basics that you can start with. I’m a great lover of QCD – Quality, Cost and Delivery – and I tend to use this ethos whenever considering metrics. I think about how those 3 facets impact my project and how I can analyze my projects performance against them.

Why use Project Management metrics?

Ultimately you want your indicators to highlight whether your meeting your objectives and goals. You need to know if something’s either going right or wrong and then drive recover actions where necessary – it’s no good just seeing a pretty chart that doesn’t actually serve a purpose. Remember that the key is that the metrics should tell you to act on something.

Project Management metrics – what to measure?

So let’s consider the basic metrics to consider for project management.

As discussed you can measure anything but the key is that it should help your understanding of how well you are meeting your goals. If your stuck on what metrics to implement – consider the following:

1/ Time based metrics – achievement to plan
2/ Cost based metrics – achievement against budget
3/ Resource based metrics – resource loading analysis, resource burndown charts
4/ Quality based metrics
5/ Issues / Actions metrics – volume of unallocated actions/issues – issues/actions late to close
6/ Risk based metrics – Value of risk against estimate – Value of risk without mitigation

These are just some ideas – why not discuss metrics and scorecads with your customer – they may well have a view on what they want to see reported and using some form of balanced scorecard can be a highly effective communication tool between the project team, it’s customer and stakeholders.

As ever with metrics is good to have a target. And given your project plan you should have a good idea of where you should be at certain stages – this gives you your baseline from which to measure yourself – the metrics can then highlight any deviation from plan. So, when your thinking of what metrics to deploy think about what targets so that you can track against plan.

Finally – consider ownership of the metrics and where the data will come from to populate the metrics. Remember that this is not a one off activity but one that will need to be sustained during the lifetime of your project.

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