Project management often involves handling a lot of moving pieces. A project manager might find themselves overseeing construction of a device or building, coordinating team member activities, reaching out to stakeholders, or overseeing the budgeting process. Needless to say, keeping track of the status of all these activities can be a difficult task. As a result, experienced project managers have learned the value of tracking a variety of metrics relevant to a project to help them gauge the status of vital project-related endeavors. Doing so enables them to quickly ascertain whether the project is on track or whether it is at risk of going off the rails and failing to meet expectations.
The following project management metrics can provide data that enables a PM to gain greater insight into how their project is doing in this regard.
One of the most common ways in which projects go astray is by running over the time allotted for completion. To reduce the chances of this occurring, paying strict attention to the timing of major project milestones is essential. Progress towards each significant milestone should be tracked closely and communicated to all team members and stakeholders. Communication is key because it enables team members to bring up any issues that may arise in regard to completing milestones on time.
By tracking your projected project task completion dates with the actual dates, you can estimate the likelihood of the project being completed on time. The project timing metric should track the progress of the project a frequent basis, typically weekly, or even daily if the project is a short one. By alerting you to project schedule slippage, it serves as an excellent metric for assessing risks to the timely completion of a project.
Productivity measures how efficiently resources are being used. This includes human as well as material resources. Using this metric, you can compare actual results to budgeted ones. You can also gain insight into which elements of the budget are having the greatest effect on the project profits and losses.
A variety of project management metrics can be used to measure productivity, including:
- Project delays: As discussed above, monitoring how well a project is staying on schedule is crucial to estimating whether it is likely to be completed on time.
- Staff performance: Measuring the actual performance of project team members against projected performance is key to being able to evaluate the contribution each member is making to the project.
- Employee work hours: Metrics tracking hours worked are an excellent way to calculate productivity by employee.
- Resource utilization: This metric tracks the amount of time your team as a whole has devoted to working on the project. It is a key measure in determining the efficiency of your team’s work on the project.
Successfully managing a project includes making sure that the end-product being delivered is acceptable to the buyer or consumer. Quality is key to this outcome. Monitoring quality metrics helps a project manager spot flaws in the implementation process which could negatively impact product quality. Quality assurance is crucial to delivering acceptable quality ratings. By monitoring quality indicators, you provide your QA department with an essential tool for keeping the quality of your products high.
A variety of measures can be used to track quality, including:
- Customer satisfaction ratings: These metrics can be gleaned from questionnaires on your company’s website, or from follow-up emails, or other sources.
- Breakage or non-completion rates: If a high proportion of items associated with the project are broken during the manufacturing or construction process, or unable to be completed, this is a sign that the assembly or construction process may need to be improved.
- Malfunction rates: If the metric tracking defective or malfunctioning parts or processes is elevated, this is likely a sign that something has gone wrong in the project implementation process.
Proactively managing costs is crucial to project success. Project management metrics tracking costs can provide early warnings of potential trouble areas. If rising costs are noticed early on in a project, it can provide managers with adequate time to make adjustments to bring costs back in line and keep the project from going off budget.
A number of project costs can be tracked, including:
- Supply or parts costs: This metric tracks all of the expenses directly associated with building or producing a project, aside from labor and overhead costs. If the project involves building a structure, for example, this category would include lumber and other supplies needed during the construction process.
- Labor costs: Tracking labor costs involves taking into account the salaries and wages paid to all employees who are directly involved with the project. For those employees who also spend time on other projects, only the hours spent on the project in question would be included when calculating labor costs.
- Overhead costs: These costs include all other expenses related to the project that are not supply or labor related. For instance, this would include office lease expenses, telephone expenses, and the like. If the items included in overhead are also used to manage other projects, only the amount of overhead allocated to the project for which the metric is being calculated is considered.
Gross margin tracks the difference between a project’s total income and its total expenses. A desired gross margin should be assigned to a project initially, and measured over the course of the project as a way of checking that the project is still on course. As a project manager, meeting or bettering gross margin targets is a good way to earn plaudits and increase your chances of getting promoted.
As with the other project management metrics mentioned, it is good policy to monitor gross margin regularly. Detecting variations from gross margin targets early in a project’s life gives the project manager time to look into the anomaly and take corrective action. The gross margin metric provides a high-level evaluation of a project’s overall success. If it indicates potential problems, the PM can use more granular metrics to dig deeper into the numbers and determine exactly where the difficulty lies.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps keep track of your project management metrics. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…