3 Principles for Project Metrics

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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from GirlsGuideToPM.com.

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Categories: metrics


How often have you looked at a set of data points and wondered what the… point was of capturing them at all? I’ve seen PMOs with measures for how many projects were closed in a month but not measures for whether those closed projects were done on time and on budget, for example. Sometimes I think our desire to catalogue and record everything goes a little bit too far. There isn’t any point in capturing data that no one cares about.

This graphic shows three core principles for creating and using metrics. They are universally applicable but good for project managers because we have to think up (and then find ways to track) KPIs and success criteria measures for our projects. And if you’re in a PMO role, you must have a bunch of data points you are collecting too – I wonder how many of them make it into the reports you produce for stakeholders? And then how many stakeholders actually read and care about them?

For more on the topic of what makes a good measure for your project, take a look at this article, which digs into some examples and how to make sure that you are creating measures that are useful, in more detail.

Posted on: February 07, 2019 01:25 PM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Thank you very much, I succeed in 2019

Very good points Elizabeth!

Thank you Elizabeth! very useful tips

Thanks Elizabeth for your advice.

Nice topic it is created before scope definition

Spot on, the power of three. The challenge is to find the three key metrics for the sponsors that meet the requirements you have set out. My experience of getting Value from Front Eng Planning is that having well developed, understood and supported measures for Front End Planning, Team Alignment and Benchmarks for Estimates is a good example.

Great, Elizabeth, thank you.

Thank you for sharing. The only thing I respectfully disagree is about your three point. You collect data not information. Metric is about to convert the data into information. Metric is information.

Interesting points. Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth.

Great key points.In answer to your opening question, too many times!


Two other things people should consider is calculation and source.

If you have calculated measure, especially if it is new or unique, then explaining how it is calculated ensures people don't form the wrong conclusions.

Secondly, the source is important. I have seen people report on the same thing with dramatically different results. The reasons are many and can be because snapshots are taken at different times (e.g, before and after a supplier was paid); or that the data was taken from different source systems (e.g. finances from MS Project or GL systems); or it was taken from the same source but different filters were applied when it was extracted; or the data was cleaned and tidied up manually as it passed between people (common if people are emailing Excel reports, without controls). Timestamping reports, referencing any filter criteria and data sources, and controls are ways around this.

Experience speaks. Thank you Elizabeth.

3 good principles
Thanks for sharing

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