Monday, March 10, 2008

Methods for Evaluating Project Performance

Author Thomas S. Monson said: "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates."

In the area of project management, performance measurement techniques are used to assess the magnitude of deviations from the original project plan. As such, they are an important aspect of project schedule control, allowing the project team to determine whether a schedule variance requires corrective action.

There are four basic performance measurement techniques: performance reviews, trend analysis, earned value analysis, and information distribution.

  1. Performance reviews
    Performance reviews are meetings held to assess project status. Most project managers schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly reviews to keep the management team abreast of the project's status. By conducting frequent performance reviews, variances are more readily detected and can be addressed sooner which prevents further deviation from the plan.

  2. Trend analysis
    Trend analysis involves examining project results over several reporting periods to determine if performance is improving or deteriorating. By plotting report results on a graph, management can determine whether schedule performance is progressing or regressing.

    Companies use trend analysis for long-term projects, to compare status over several periods. Either a three-month, four-month, or six-month moving average is used to predict project trends. Trending provides management with advance warning of adverse trends, and allows for corrective action to be taken to rectify the situation. Companies also use trend analysis data to plan future projects that are similar in nature.

  3. Earned value analysis
    Earned value analysis is the most commonly used method of performance measurement. It integrates scope, cost, and schedule measures to assist the management team in assessing project performance.

    Earned value analysis compares the amount of planned work to what was actually accomplished. This involves calculating three key values for each activity that is performed.
  4. - The planned value in a project is the approved estimate of cost planned to be spent on an activity during a given time period. - The actual cost in a project is the total costs involved in completing the work for an activity in a given time period. - The earned value for a project is the value of the work actually completed during a period of time. These calculations allow project managers to see whether cost and schedule performance is proceeding as planned.
  5. Information distribution tools and techniques
    Information distribution tools and techniques make necessary information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.

    Information regarding a project's performance is essential to bring about project success. Too little or incorrect information could lead to misunderstandings and changes that are not really necessary.

    Clear communication and shared information retrieval and distribution methods are the basic tools and techniques for ensuring that important information is distributed.

    Communication skills are used to exchange information. Whether communication is written, oral, internal, external, formal, informal, vertical, or horizontal—the sender must ensure that the information is clear and complete while the receiver confirms that it is properly understood.

    Information retrieval systems allow information to be shared by project team members and stakeholders. Such systems may include project management software, electronic databases, and manual filing systems.

    Information distribution methods ensure that important project information is distributed to the stakeholders. Project meetings, voice mail, electronic mail, fax, videoconferencing, project intranet, hard-copy documentation, and shared databases are all effective distribution methods.
Performance reviews, trend analysis, earned value analysis, and information distribution tools and techniques are important in assessing the magnitude of any project variations. Using these techniques to determine whether a project is performing as planned will help you maintain a concise and controlled project schedule.

1 comment:

Jena Harman said...


Tag: PM206A55. Let me share all of you about #5 Tips for Project Management Success,, I hope you enjoy it

1. Plan your day using time management techniques

As a project manager, time management skills are essential because you are dealing with a wide range of tasks that demand a quick turnaround time. Planning your day will go a long way in keeping you organized and increasing your productivity. Assist your task planning by using project management software which helps you track the work of you and your team.

If you are not very tech savvy, a simple to-do list can also be a great organizational tool. Prioritize your most important tasks by putting them at the top of the list and less important ones at the bottom. Having a visual plan of your daily tasks helps to keep you on track and aware of time.

Related post: Free ebook 104 secrets to become a great project manager

2. Include stakeholders in important project conversations

While you will have plenty of responsibilities regarding the project, don’t neglect your clients.

Good communication is essential is keeping both parties informed of project progression, curtailing scope creep, and apprised of changing requirements. Some clients may have different expectations when it comes to communication, so make sure to establish the frequency and type of communication (like emails, phone calls, and face-to-face conversations) at the beginning of your project.

Establishing communication expectations early helps alleviate stakeholder uncertainty about communication frequency and delivery.

3. Regularly communicate with your team

Daily team communication helps keep misunderstandings and unclear requirements under control. Keeping your team informed in every step of the project is essential to project management success.

For example, a study published by Procedia Technology found that good communication skills were the cornerstone of project management. The study examined over 300 “construction project managers, architects, construction managers, engineers and quantity surveyors” and their successes and failures on various construction projects.

4. Anticipate project setbacks

Even the best-laid plans often go awry.

Remember that even with a high amount of planning and attention to detail, your project may still encounter some challenges. Pay attention to complaints from stakeholders or colleagues, and other warning signs, like a missed deadline or cost overrun, that there may be a problem.

Preventing a crisis will keep your project running smoothly, save you a lot of time, and keep you, your team, and your stakeholders confident in progressing with the project.

Unfortunately not every complication can be avoided. Crisis management skills are essential for dealing with the unexpected. Project managers need to be flexible and pragmatic. Improvise and make sharp decisions when needed.

Related post: 92 free project management templates

5. Stay focused on the details

A common problem project managers encounter is having the project aims not aligned with the organization’s objectives. A great project manager will strategize a plan for the project to lead back to the overall success of the business.

Know your project’s scope by heart and avoid wandering outside of the project’s requirements. It’s too easy to get lost in minor details and forget what your focus is, so a well-planned project scope is essential for success.

And final, you should use KPI to measure effectiveness of the project, here are full list: 76 project management KPIs