In this lesson, we’ll learn the meaning of the term metrics and then apply it to project management. We’ll also explore how project mangers use metrics to measure the success of a project.
Project Management Metrics
We’ve all completed a project at one time in our life. That project may have been for a class while in school or at a job. One thing all projects have in common is making sure they’re successfully completed. However, the question is: How do we know if a project isn’t just finished, but is successfully completed? Is there a way to measure the success of a project? In this lesson, we will learn about project management metrics, which is the term used to describe how we measure the success of a project.
Providing a Basic Foundation
So you may be wondering, what does the term project management metrics actually mean? Well, it has something to do with measurements, but let’s break the phrase down to better understand it. First of all, metrics is a measurement that is utilized to estimate or gauge a component of performance that can be quantified. In other words, it is a term used to describe how we measure how well something was performed. So, project management metrics is a way to measure the success (or performance) of a project.
What Do PM Metrics Measure?
Like we mentioned earlier, metrics are used to determine the success of a project. But how do we actually obtain such a measurement, and how do we gauge success? Answering the following questions can be used to help us better measure how successful a project might be:
1. How well is the project doing with time? For example, is the project meeting the time frame that was planned and decided upon before the project began?
2. How well is the project meeting the budget? This helps gauge the costs of the project. For instance, you may want to know if a project is going over budget or coming in ahead of budget.
3. How well is a project utilizing resources? This basically means, how many hours are being devoted to the project and how many employees are being utilized to complete the project?
4. How well is a project meeting the scope? For example, how many changes have been requested and how many changes have been implemented?
Implementing PM Metrics
Now, how do we actually implement metrics for a project? The answer to this question is important because if a project manager cannot measure how well a project is doing, they cannot be sure that they’re doing the best job. Here are some questions that can be helpful when deciding what will be effective for measuring your project’s success:
1. What information do you want to collect? It’s best to keep the data you’re aiming for simple, such as wanting to know how many hours were spent on the project.
2. How will you collect the information? A good way to make this an easy task is to use information that’s already being collected. For example, if the customer wants to know how many parts were used when completing the project, you could use that information to see if you successfully met the number of parts outlined in the original plan.
3. How will you process the information? Will you use computer software or will you assign an employee to analyze the results?
4. And lastly, how will you report the information? Answering this question requires knowing to whom you will report the findings. If you’re reporting the information to the customer, then you may need a detailed report so that they can see things like cost and materials used. For example, you may need to specify how much each part costs and provide an itemized list of every material that was used. If you’re reporting to a supervisor, you may just need a quick recall of some of the more important information, like the timeframe and budget success.
Let’s review. Metrics is a term used to describe how something is measured. Project management metrics are specifically used to describe how we can find out how successful a project was. Some ways to measure the success of a project include asking how well the project met its budget, whether it stayed in its projected timeframe and scope, and how effectively it utilized available resources.
When implementing project management metrics, some questions to keep in mind are:
- What do you want to collect?
- How will you collect it?
- How will you process the information? And lastly,
- How will you report it?