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Topics: Earned Value Management, PMO, Portfolio Management
Is Milestone attainment a good performance KPI
When dealing with performance KPI, we normally are used to track SV & CV. Wondering if even when we have a deviation but we finally get the milestone can reflect better performance during project execution.
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In my case, writting about applying it in the work day, it could be consider a performance indicator if and only if: 1-the deviation is inside the organizational threshold. 2-the relation with the others KPIs is taken into account (quality KPIs for example)
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1 reply by Engels Gilvert
Jan 27, 2021 2:47 PM
Engels Gilvert
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Thanks Sergio, question, how do propose to measure deviation (in a leading way) before you lose the milestone?
Jan 27, 2021 1:53 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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In my case, writting about applying it in the work day, it could be consider a performance indicator if and only if: 1-the deviation is inside the organizational threshold. 2-the relation with the others KPIs is taken into account (quality KPIs for example)
Thanks Sergio, question, how do propose to measure deviation (in a leading way) before you lose the milestone?
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Jan 28, 2021 6:45 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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In the same way you anticipate the probability of deviation into any other type of item by performing project control and monitoring.
On-time completion of major milestones can indeed be a KPI. EVM metrics can tell you if the cost and schedule are on plan, but not necessarily whether the right work is getting done.

If for example, one sub-team is showing on-time performance, they may be behind on work that should be completed early to support a preliminary design review, but ahead on work that could be performed later. If you can't close the PDR due to incomplete early work, that is more telling than your EVM metrics. In this case it tells you that some people are working on the wrong tasks.

Another example would be if you are behind on your EVM metrics, but are able to close the milestone. This would help show that you are behind in some areas, but the critical items necessary to move forward are complete.

One caution here is that major milestones can be political. They may get attention outside the organization and even be published in press releases which impact stock prices. In this case there may be pressure to close the milestone even if your closure criteria were not met. I have seen major celebrations of a "completed" first production unit in a large program, even though months of work were required to make the product functional.
Jan 27, 2021 2:47 PM
Replying to Engels Gilvert
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Thanks Sergio, question, how do propose to measure deviation (in a leading way) before you lose the milestone?
In the same way you anticipate the probability of deviation into any other type of item by performing project control and monitoring.
I'm going to be a little nitpicky, but take it with a grain of salt as it might not matter for your purposes.

Milestone attainment is actually a results indicator, not a performance indicator, and it might be just an RI, not a KRI (Key Results Indicator). Is milestone attainment important? Usually, yes. Does it tell you anything meaningful about performance? Not by itself.

Here's where things get nuanced. Whether or not you completed a specific milestone is a results indicator. The percentage of milestones achieved on schedule (milestone attainment rate?) is a performance indicator. The former tells you that you accomplished something. The latter informs about performance and helps you decide whether or not you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Here's where the difference may not matter. If you're already measuring SV and CV, which could be considered performance measures, does measuring the milestone attainment rate provide valuable information? I can't answer that question for you, but hopefully my response makes sense and is helpful. Best wishes!
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1 reply by Engels Gilvert
Feb 02, 2021 1:08 PM
Engels Gilvert
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Thanks, good info.
Engels,

yes and it depends.

Aaron and Keith make good points.

There is a performance tracking technique called MTA (milestone trend analysis) which builds on tracking milestones.

I have seen many projects without a WBS or without activity estimated, and unable to do EVM. So they track what they can, and if intermediate milestones are possible instead, they track them.

If neither EVM nor MTA can be used, you can always measure the output or the team morale. A TMI (team morale index) is the quickest tracking tool, because other measures look at the past, team morale includes the look to the future.

Thomas
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1 reply by Engels Gilvert
Feb 02, 2021 1:09 PM
Engels Gilvert
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Thanks Thomas, good contribution, I liked the TMI Approach.
My concern with KPIs is that, if not developed carefully, they can cause people or a team to focus on too narrow measurements. A true KPI has to measure against the project objectives, not one but all. If the project objective is to deliver full scope, on time and on cost then the KPI has to reflect that expressed as a ratio (or percentage) of how often it is achieved versus expectations. Alternatively you can measure a KPI for each objective; scope, time and cost, and then combine based on a weigthed formula. You can add other KPIs for client satisfaction etc., again as defined in the project objective.

Another concern with KPIs is that performance is compared to estimates or guesses of time and costs. Is a cost variance KPI a measure of delivery performance or estimating performance? Same goes for time measurements.

Its easy to measure effort but much harder to establish effectiveness. KPIs should measure effectiveness in achieving the deliverable..
Jan 28, 2021 10:57 AM
Replying to Aaron Porter
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I'm going to be a little nitpicky, but take it with a grain of salt as it might not matter for your purposes.

Milestone attainment is actually a results indicator, not a performance indicator, and it might be just an RI, not a KRI (Key Results Indicator). Is milestone attainment important? Usually, yes. Does it tell you anything meaningful about performance? Not by itself.

Here's where things get nuanced. Whether or not you completed a specific milestone is a results indicator. The percentage of milestones achieved on schedule (milestone attainment rate?) is a performance indicator. The former tells you that you accomplished something. The latter informs about performance and helps you decide whether or not you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Here's where the difference may not matter. If you're already measuring SV and CV, which could be considered performance measures, does measuring the milestone attainment rate provide valuable information? I can't answer that question for you, but hopefully my response makes sense and is helpful. Best wishes!
Thanks, good info.
Jan 30, 2021 2:33 PM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
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Engels,

yes and it depends.

Aaron and Keith make good points.

There is a performance tracking technique called MTA (milestone trend analysis) which builds on tracking milestones.

I have seen many projects without a WBS or without activity estimated, and unable to do EVM. So they track what they can, and if intermediate milestones are possible instead, they track them.

If neither EVM nor MTA can be used, you can always measure the output or the team morale. A TMI (team morale index) is the quickest tracking tool, because other measures look at the past, team morale includes the look to the future.

Thomas
Thanks Thomas, good contribution, I liked the TMI Approach.

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