Project Success Metrics: Keeping projects on time and within budget
Five people can give five different definitions of “project failure” and you’ll likely get five different answers. Because project failure is subjective, it is determined by both the success criteria of a project and the metrics used to assess its performance during and after its completion.
One project could be considered successful if it follows the plan, another if its budget is within the original budget, and yet another if scope creep is avoided. If a third party were to measure success by customer satisfaction and these projects failed to meet customer expectations, they could also be called failures.
Failure is subjective. Therefore, it is important to include success criteria in a project plan. It is even more important that all stakeholders agree on the definition of success.
Misalignment can lead to miscommunication, discontent and eventually fragmentation of teams into silos, which can lead to ineffectiveness.
If each stakeholder works together towards the same goal, and agrees on which constraint to prioritize above another, each project will deliver value.
This article will discuss five success criteria that are used to assess the success or failure a project. It will also highlight tools you can use for measuring performance.
1. Scope2. Schedule3. Budget4. Attaining Business Goals5. Customer SatisfactionConclusion
How to measure success in a project
Scope refers to the desired results of a project as well as the work required to achieve them. It describes the specific goals, deliverables and features that a project will deliver, as well as the tasks, deadlines and costs involved in getting there.
You should not consider scope as your primary success criterion if you don’t have a clearly defined scope before the start of a project. Agile projects should use a different metric because it is a hallmark of Agile that there are no clearly defined requirements before kickoff.
You must increase the scope of a project and also increase the budget and/or time. Scope creep is a common problem. Stakeholders want to add requirements to a project once it’s underway, but they don’t want any compromises on other constraints.
WHAT’S RISKING: According to Project Management Institute’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession report, 52% of projects experienced scope shrinkage in the past year.
How to track scope: Work with stakeholders to create a work breakdown structure during project planning.
*Resources are a key factor in understanding the scope and goals of your project. It is important to understand the team’s bandwidth and the use of key resources. Also, how pay rates affect the budget.
Gantt charts can be used to visualize the project once you have a clear understanding of the critical path and how resource constraints affect the project plan.
A calendar can be a great way for all stakeholders to see the scope of the project. It will also help them understand how specific requirements can be met within the timeframe and budget.
Gantt charts can also be used as project tracking tools. Managers can use them to monitor performance and ensure projects are on time to achieve their goals.
A Wrike Gantt Chart describing the launch of an organic cosmetics range (Source)
Your project schedule is the schedule. It includes not only your final close date (or product release), but also important milestones, and deadlines, along the way.
Overworked workers are the most common reason projects go over their original schedule. Gartner suggests that employees should not expect them to give 100% to a project. Instead, acknowledge that they can only devote 33% of their time to projects.
In “Resource Capacity planning for PPM leaders: Crawl before you walk” (full Gartne report).