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Project Management KPIs – Measuring Project Management Performance

Jay Leslie

Measuring the performance of project managers and PMO teams as a whole seems to be a very hot topic lately. In my own experience, many who are new to the role of leading a PMO tend to immediately look to create metrics based on the business goals of the organization (e.g. increase customer retention by 10%). In some cases, they are forced into this. However, as a PMO team, while we always have the ability to speak up and ask if what we are working on makes sense, we are very rarely involved in selecting the projects we will be driving to completion. While the projects themselves must satisfy a business goal, our work as a project management team is merely supportive.

Rather than try and align the measurement of my team’s effectiveness to the business goals directly, I’ve always leaned toward focusing more on the deliverables and outcomes within our control. Simply stated: It shouldn’t matter what project I’m working on; what matters is how well I execute in my role. Here are some examples of things that a project manager might easily be measured upon:

  1. Providing clear and frequent project-level communications so that a stakeholder never has to ask for information, and if they do, only a single link within the response is necessary.
  2. Providing project administrative items per documented team standards and guidelines (e.g. detailed project plan, formal issues list, formal risk register, central project information location, etc.)
  3. 100% avoidance of negative impacts on business processes or customer experience that can be directly attributed to project management failures.

These KPIs can be inserted on a project-by-project basis as a metric and presented right alongside the other operational teams in something like an Ops Review.

Example goal #1 above is, in my opinion, the most important and should carry the most weight, given that the primary responsibility of project managers is to provide quality communication to all stakeholders. Without being effective at this, the initiatives your PMO are working on are like running blind through room-fulls of furniture.

However, this goal is also the most challenging, especially for status conversations, as most of the tools available today that we use for managing projects, programs, and portfolios do a very poor job of enabling us to provide clear and concise views of our initiatives.

As you already know, this is where OnePager comes in. By using OnePager as an integrated part of your communications standards for each initiative, your stakeholders will have an easy time understanding status and delegation of responsibilities. OnePager will allow your project managers to deliver the highest-quality status communications possible, without a lot of overhead. It allows one specific KPI to easily and frequently exceed expectations, and also helps improve metric items #2 and #3 as well.

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