Project Metrics: Monitor and control your projects

Ever wondered how to figure out your projects health? How certain are you that your project is getting delivered on the estimated delivery date or is it going to be a run away horse? There are certain tangible project parameters that help in determining a projects health and thereby allowing for better management. There are several monitor and control techniques that help assets the health of your project and a great way to proactively manage projects and easily avoid , scope creep, project delays, resource issues and budget crises.

Project metrics are project data and while these can be quantitative data there are also qualitative data that are derived from the former. Quantitative data can be pertaining to the following

  1. Cost
  2. Schedule
  3. Quality
  4. Resources
  5. Scope

Each of these above is meant to have baselines. Baselines are formed at the planning stage of the project and are used throughout the project lifecycle to measure against current values versus projected values in order to establish whether or not project is on track or behind.

Qualitative assessment gives us the following terms

  1. SV – Schedule Variance
  2. CV – Cost Variance
  3. SPI – Schedule Performance Index
  4. CPI – Cost Performance Index

Schedule performance measurements are required to understand and objectively identify how the project is performing with respect to schedule and hence the 2 terms Schedule Variance and Schedule Performance Index. Similarly the terms CV and CPI inspect into projects performance with respect to cost. Variance analysis is comparing present versus projected or estimated values to determine the gap and arrive at a figure that necessitates either corrective actions or confirm that cost or schedule or both are on track and hence determine or forecast project performances. Other project (quantitative and qualitative) data that are useful in variance analysis are

  1. AC – Actual Cost
  2. BAC– Budgeted Actual Coast
  3. PV– Planned Value
  4. EAC – Estimate at completion
  5. ETC– Estimate to complete
  6. EV– Earned Value

These above mentioned numbers are either derived from project status or derived after certain calculations as per formulae determined by methods such as EVM (Earned Value Method). Earned Value is a method of analysis and determining project performance data.

It is thus very important to determine what project metrics you want to estimate and following which adequate steps should be taken right from the planning stage in order to make baselines and then capture project data during execution at planned intervals, in order to compare, apply variance analysis and other analysis methods to establish project health at regular intervals. It not only helps in monitoring and controlling the project but also allow project managers to take necessary corrective measures or apply risk mitigation techniques should it be determined that project risks are the cause of project delays or cost overruns.

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Roli Pathak

Over the last 7 years, I have worked on a variety of tasks and projects assisting in many roles from Technical Writing to Business Analysis, from receiving instructions and executing to making work packages and distributing among team members.