What Gets Measured, Gets Done
September 21, 2016 by The FlexPro Group
The old adage goes, “What gets measured gets done.” Time and time again, it’s been proven right in both personal pursuits and around the office.
When we look at project management specifically, metrics are an important part of monitoring and controlling throughout the lifecycle of a project. So how can we measure the performance of a project? Let’s take a look at 3 categories of metrics and how they can help keep your projects on track.
Ideally, scope is defined during the project initiation phase, and there is agreement from the top down and bottom up in the organization. A set of clear deliverables will provide the criteria of what needs to be achieved for project success. Tracking progress towards these deliverables is a basic measure of how far along the project is. Another thing to consider tracking is change requests. Scope creep can be a huge problem that can delay and derail a project. Tracking changes can help manage this and while changes in scope naturally occur during the course of the project, too many changes mean that the initial scope was not well defined. In these cases, it might be time to reassess timing and resources.
Quality is another important aspect to monitor. As with changes in scope, if the number quality events, investigations, defects, etc. become too regular, this can obviously impact the completion of project deliverables. Besides number of defects, the time to resolve and close them out can be a good leading metric in how efficient the project is working towards completion.
Both scope and quality will impact the project schedule. The initial schedule is designed in the planning stage, with some key milestones and dates associated with them. Many of the details and steps to get to these milestones may still need to be developed at this stage, but the milestones should be set are agreed on with management, The measurement of any variance to this baseline schedule is important so that teams can adjust and refine project activities to keep on track. If it’s not possible to stay on schedule, changes to the baseline milestones must be reviewed and approved. Looking at the schedule variance regularly helps to make those decisions earlier. This also becomes important when managing interdependencies between different projects, where one project teams delivery impacts another.
It’s important to remember that not everything that though not everything that can be counted truly counts, metrics are essential to help assess project status towards the final goals, uncover risks, and also motivate teams and individuals to keep up the good momentum and push through the challenges. Metrics also provide information to stakeholders and management to help them make decisions and remove roadblocks. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that metrics are meaningful and actionable.
What metrics do you use or have used that make an impact on your teams?
-Francisco Buella, FlexPro Sr. Consultant & PMP