Measuring In-Progress Project Performance

Measuring in-progress project performance is important so that potential problems can be identified as early as possible and so that stakeholders are made aware of progress. It is often a challenge to identify appropriate key performance indicators that actually measure what we really want to evaluate in regards to performance. Most people recommend choosing two to five KPI’s to properly gauge performance and to keep a high level view. It is important to remember that KPI’s are readings that enable stakeholders to assess how well the project is progressing in general against the stated objectives. It is often hard to measure the success of the project until long after the project has been completed.

Tracking the schedule and budget are critical KPI’s. However, it is important that these two are tracked together due to their tradeoff nature. Tracking discrepancies here allows the project manager to identify issues and drill down to resolve them quickly. More specific KPI’s, such as the number of scope changes and defects discovered during the project, can provide insight into the root causes of schedule and budget issues.

Another KPI to measure is the completion of quality deliverables. In order to effectively measure these, it is important that there is effective planning that clearly identifies critical tasks that need completed and what the specific requirements of each task are. Once these are identified and agreed upon, the project manager can track performance against these planned deliverables. These deliverables serve to link the required tasks to the schedule and give stakeholders an excellent pulse on project success.

The effort being expended by company resources is another important indicator. This can be very difficult to track and requires a disciplined approach. There are many types of technology that can assist with the tracking and reporting of time spent on a project by internal resources. Having this data can allow the project manager to track schedule compliance and better estimate completion dates. My company uses a software platform called Planview for all R&D projects.

Lastly, stakeholder satisfaction can be measured to assess how happy clients and team members are with the way in which the project is being managed and progressing. This data can speak to the responsiveness of the project team, the level of communication, the level of involvement, and the general feeling about the progress.

Combining these KPI’s and reporting them to stakeholders allows project managers to identify issues and deal with them proactively. Reporting these also allows the project manager to set expectations to stakeholders regarding the success of the project. What types of KPI’s have others used to track and report project performance?

Source: Pitagorsky, G. “Measuring In-Progress Project Performance.” Project Management Times. Project Management Times, 30 Jan. 2013.  Web. 18 Jul. 2015.

It’s all about Communication…

While thinking of what topic to post about, I thought of my personal experience in project management and wondered what key concepts constantly hinders project performance. Communication is the first thing that comes to my mind. Generally speaking, we all know the importance and significance of communication when it comes to our personal relationships. It is really important to understand others and to be understood in order to maintain healthy and strong relationship ties.


Similarly, and given that my professional job revolves around projects, I’ve come to realize that like in relationships, effective communication is key within projects. Unfortunately, communication is usually overlooked and the consequence is reflected through delays in project timelines and increase in number of failed projects. To back this notion, the plus study by PMI revealed that the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communications. The report also highlighted, on an average, one-half of those unsuccessful projects (i.e. 2 out of every 5 projects) are related to ineffective communication, illustrated in the graph below:


When dealing with projects, communication is important at each and every level – from project initiation to closure. Thus, it is important to meticulously outline and articulate project requirements to the intended stakeholders, for example – using a daily encounter – imagine your boss delegates a work assignment to you and you are not properly briefed regarding the exact requirements. This communication gap translates into unmet project expectations and hence unsatisfactory project outcomes. How many times did you find yourself a victim of such a scenario? Now imagine the same example in a project set and on multiple task levels. Devastating, right? This highlights the significance of effective communication to project performance.

Moreover, given that the importance of communication has been established, it is crucial to identify various ways in which we can maintain effective communication within our projects. Below details few ideas that I compiled based on my experience and what we covered in class:

  • Preparing a formal communication plan and using standardized communication reporting tools – particularly within medium to large-scale projects.
  • Ensuring clarity and language of the message; meaning tailoring the message for each stakeholder as per their understanding and using the most preferred communication channel.
  • Making people understand their role and contribution to the project and getting their full buy-ins can help elevate their communication and commitment to the project.
  • Communication is two ways; hence, it is important to keep all the relevant stakeholders informed with the project’s status when necessary to ensure their responsiveness.

Thus, next time you are assigned a project I hope the first thing that comes to your mind revolves around different strategies you would adopt in order to ensure effective communication within your projects.

Remember, “a good communication process helps you to be predictive, that’s important, because if you are always reactive it’s too late. The project is already off the tracks.”


How many times did you find yourself a victim of ineffective communication? what did you do about it?