Using Project Metrics for Successful Project Management
Easy access to accurate data is key to project performance, helping to improve visibility, collaboration, and decision-making.
Project metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are particularly useful because they provide an objective measure of project health and allow project managers to make important decisions about a project.
What Is A Project Metric?
A metric is simply a measurement of something. When managing a project, you can choose to use project metrics to track progress.
Metrics are selected based on the goals of the project and critical factors for success.
Examples of project metrics include:
- The estimated cost of the project.
- The number of issues that are late.
- The number of open tasks.
- The duration of a project
- Earned Value.
Track how the project is performing relative to that measure over time to generate your metric.
A metric is not the same as a key performance indicator. A key performance indicator (KPI) is used to measure a specific metric related to business goals. Tracking KPIs helps teams to understand their efforts towards a particular goal.
Using Project Metrics for Better Reporting
Project metrics are a very efficient way to assess the health of a project and make informed decisions.
Metrics reveal how the project is doing relative to the key performance indicators that have been selected. This makes it very easy to identify the areas of a project that require attention. Metrics are an early warning system and should be actionable!
Let’s look at why project metrics are incredibly useful if implemented and reported the right way with an example.
- Project team members execute their work and update their progress in the collaborative project site.
- If a change occurs to trigger a warning metric, for example, a new issue, that indicator will automatically update on all the dashboards reporting on that metric.
- As a project manager, you come into the project site and the KPIs will automatically light up green, amber, or red on the project dashboard, immediately showing you if something is going wrong.
- You can address the issue at the earliest notice and get all the metrics back to green… and then repeat the cycle.
3 Ways to Report on Project Metrics with SharePoint
In addition to performing calculations on data to generate the metric value, you can also define the Target, Warning, and Danger ranges for a metric, and assign traffic light indicators to metrics.
There are a few ways to display metrics in your BrightWork project site, including:
- Metric Tiles.
- Metrics Scorecard.
- KPIs and Metrics at the Project Office Level.
1. Metrics Tiles
The ‘Metric Tiles’ web part is a customizable, simple way to display metrics anywhere in your project site for increased visibility, such as the homepage. Options include % Complete, Open Issues, and Project Completion Dates.
As information is updated in the project site, the tiles are also updated.
This short video shows metric tiles in action, including configuration options.
2. Metrics Scorecard
Project metrics are incredibly useful to give a quick snapshot of the health of a project. You can use them to track cost, issues, risks… and those indicators make it very clear what is going on. But they only tell you what is happening “right now.”
As the Project Manager or project stakeholder, you want to know where you have come from as well. What are the project metrics telling you about the trends of this project? That is where a metrics scorecard will come in handy.
3. Metrics and KPIs at the Project Office Level
The beauty of BrightWork in SharePoint is that you can roll up metrics reporting from individual project sites and report on them at the portfolio-level. You’ll be able to assess how the overall portfolio is doing and dig into the detail if necessary.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.