Without measuring your project, you have virtually no chance of knowing whether it was a success or failure, and whether you’re headed in the right direction. Project management today relies on access to a host of data and metrics, all of which support fact-based decision-making and help managers to optimize every phase of the project. Here are top 6 project management metrics your company should define and start tracking right now in order to ensure that all your efforts aimed at successful project completion are well spent.
This metric basically refers to the utilization of resources. By comparing total effort to budgeted effort, managers can check which factors have greatest impact on the bottom line. It can be staff underperformance, delays or unavoidable circumstances – all of them can significantly affect productivity. Measure the productivity of your project and you’ll know which of these factors deserves most of your attention.
This empiric metric should, and usually is defined right at the beginning of a project. However, as a project unfolds itself, it tends to undergo a series of changes and additions, which might easily get out of control, successfully overwhelming and distracting even the most seasoned project managers out there. Tracking change requests, you’ll ensure that they’re controlled and successfully bring the project into completion within budget and on time.
This is definitely the most consumer-focused metric in this set. Quality assurance helps to minimize defects throughout the project and ensures that the deliverable is of high quality at its end. Tracing this metric helps managers to catch errors early on and prevent the project from losing focus or even failing due to undetected mistakes which pile up and affect project delivery.
Setting up a project schedule, managers usually agree on a specific number of milestone points established during meetings with stakeholders. The schedule metric compares target date to forecast date, effectively helping managers to see whether it’s possible to meet their goals. This metric works best if it’s measured on a weekly basis. It’s an excellent indicator of potential risks to project schedule.
Measuring cost management is key to every reject’s success. There are many variables which enter into this – for instance quality, scope and productivity. In an ideal situation, cost is closely monitored as the project unfolds and if it rises unexpectedly, managers have all the time to adjust other variables and ensure that the project still achieves its objectives.
6. Gross margin
Almost every project is aimed at increasing the profits of the organization. That’s when the metric of gross margin comes in. It’s basically the difference between total income achieved and total expenses involved in the project. When planning a project, managers should set up a target gross margin and measure it throughout the project to ensure that it’s on the right track. Project managers who are able to achieve or even exceed target gross margins are the ones who quickly rise in the ranks of any organization.
Tracking these key project management metrics, project managers can gain fuller control over the project and increase the chance of its success. Consequently, managers are able to make predictions about future projects and improve their execution with the help of average metric history achieved during previous projects. This type of historical data is very valuable to both future planning and comparison, because organizations gain plenty of insights into which strategies are successful and which ones still require some polishing.