In the vast landscape of corporate projects, one of the most pressing challenges for project managers is maintaining constant and rigorous control over every phase and aspect of their project.
Keeping corporate projects under control is a key activity to ensure success. This allows you to keep track of project progress, spot any deviations from the plan, and take corrective action on time.
- 5 steps to keep business projects under control
- 1. Define goals and metrics for success
- 2. Create a monitoring plan
- 3. Collect data and analyze it
- 4. Apply corrective measures
- 5. Report the results
- The essential metrics for keeping track of business projects
- 1.Basic metrics
- 2.Specific KPIs
- 3.Qualitative metrics
- 4. Quantitative metrics
- 5. Team metrics and communication
- Best practices to monitor business projects
- Corporate projects: everything is under control with Twproject
Projects, by their nature, are fluid and dynamic, with variables that often change unpredictably.
These variables may include changes in stakeholder expectations, resources suddenly becoming unavailable, unexpected risks arising, or changing deadlines.
In this mutable environment, project managers must foresee and prevent potential obstacles and react quickly when these hindrances appear.
How do you ensure that a project proceeds as planned on time and within budget?
The answer lies in the use of specific metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
This article will explore the main metrics and KPIs that every project manager should know and use, which help monitor business projects.
5 steps to keep business projects under control
1. Define goals and metrics for success
The first step in keeping track of a project is clearly defining success goals and metrics. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
Success metrics must be quantitative and measurable so project progress can be monitored, and deviations can be identified.
For example, a project goal might be “Collaborate with a partner to develop a new product by December 31, 2023.“
A success metric for this goal could be “The new product was developed and launched by December 31, 2023.“
2. Create a monitoring plan
Once goals and success metrics have been set, a monitoring plan must be created. The plan should outline the monitoring activities, the frequency of data updates, and the people responsible for monitoring.
The monitoring plan should be project-specific and take into account the project’s size, complexity, and nature. For example, a product development project might require more frequent monitoring than a corporate restructuring project.
3. Collect data and analyze it
Monitoring involves collecting and analyzing data to identify any plan deviations. Data can be collected from a variety of sources, including:
- Progress report
- Project meetings
- Project management software
- Performance data
The data collected should be analyzed to identify any trends or problems. For example, if performance data indicate that the project is lagging, the cause of the delay must be found, and corrective action taken.
4. Apply corrective measures
If monitoring reveals deviations, corrective measures must be taken. Corrective actions may vary depending on the nature of the deviation. For example, if the deviation is due to a delay, resources can be reallocated, or the plan amended.
It is key to take corrective action promptly to prevent deviations from worsening.
5. Report the results
It is crucial to communicate monitoring results to project stakeholders. Regular communication helps everyone stay up-to-date about the project’s status and find problems before they become critical.
Monitoring results can be communicated through a variety of channels, including:
- Project meetings
- Periodic reports
- E-mail communications
The essential metrics for keeping track of business projects
As mentioned above, metrics are crucial because they allow us to measure the progress of projects and identify any deviations from the plan.
Let’s look at the most used ones for project monitoring below:
1. Basic metrics
Basic metrics, often also called fundamental or key metrics, are standardized measurements used to assess and monitor the progress, performance, or quality of a process, activity, or project.
These metrics provide a clear and objective view of the current state and help make informed decisions.
Here are some of the basic metrics commonly used:
- Time planning: This metric is about meeting established deadlines. If a project begins to slip from schedule, early action is essential.
- Budget: Constantly monitoring costs is crucial. If you go over budget without valid justification, serious problems could arise.
- Resources: Whether it is workforce, equipment, or other, it is vital to ensure that resources are used efficiently.
2. Specific KPIs
Specific KPIs are key performance indicators used to measure and gauge the effectiveness of specific activities, processes, or objectives within an organization or project.
They are essential for monitoring progress toward strategic and tactical goals. These include:
- Cost Performance Index (CPI): This KPI measures the project’s cost efficiency. A CPI above 1 indicates that the project is under budget, while a value below 1 indicates that it is over budget.
- Schedule Performance Index (SPI): Similar to CPI but focused on time. An SPI above 1 indicates that the project is ahead of schedule, while a value below 1 indicates a delay.
- Earned Value (EV): This KPI represents the value of work completed at a given time, compared to what was planned.
- Cost at Completion (EAC): An estimate of total costs at project completion based on current performance.
3. Qualitative metrics
Qualitative metrics evaluate and interpret nonquantifiable or nonnumerical aspects of a phenomenon or activity.
Unlike quantitative metrics based on numerical data and objective measurements, qualitative metrics focus on perceptions, opinions, qualities, and other subjective attributes.
These metrics are often used in contexts where evaluation requires a deeper, more interpretive analysis rather than a simple count or measurement.
Here are some examples of qualitative metrics:
- Customer satisfaction: Even if a project is completed on time and budget, if the customer is unsatisfied, something has gone wrong. It is essential to collect feedback regularly. This can be measured through surveys, interviews, or focus groups.
- Quality of a product or service: Although there may be associated quantitative metrics (such as defect rate), customer perception of quality is often qualitative. This can be measured through expert ratings or customer reviews.
- Usability of a product or service: The extent to which specific users can use it to achieve specific goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. It can be measured through usability tests or surveys.
- The impact of a project is the measure of the positive or negative effect the project has on people, organizations, or the environment.
It can be measured in terms of:
- Benefits: The benefits that the project has generated
- Results: the results that the project has achieved
- Change: The change that the project brought about
4. Quantitative metrics
Quantitative metrics are performance indicators that measure aspects that can be measured quantitatively. They are often used to measure time, cost, quality, and productivity.
Some examples of quantitative metrics include:
- Time: Can be measured in days, weeks, months, or years.
- Costs: Can be measured in euros, dollars, yen, or other currencies.
- Quality: Can be measured in terms of errors, compliance with standards, or customer satisfaction.
- Productivity: Can be measured in terms of output per unit of time.
Quantitative metrics are often easier to measure than qualitative metrics, but they may be less useful for measuring quality and user satisfaction.
Here are some tips for measuring quantitative metrics:
- Clearly define the goals of the metric: What are you trying to measure?
- Select an appropriate measurement method: The measurement method must be valid and reliable.
- Collecting data from various sources will help ensure that the data are accurate.
- Systematically analyze data: This will help identify trends and problems.
Project managers should use a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics to monitor the progress of their projects.
Quantitative metrics can provide valuable information on time, cost, and productivity, which can be critical factors in the success of a project.
Some common quantitative metrics for business projects include:
- Development time: The time it takes to complete the project
- Delivery time: The time it takes to deliver the final product or service to the customer
- Cycle time: The time it takes to complete a task or process
- Total costs: The total cost of the project
- Development costs: The costs associated with creating the final product or service
- Distribution costs: The costs associated with distributing the final product or service to the customer
- Number of errors: The number of errors detected in the final product or service
- Compliance with standards: The extent to which the final product or service meets established standards
- Customer satisfaction: The degree of customer satisfaction with the final product or service
- Output per unit of time: The amount of work completed in a unit of time
- Efficiency: The extent to which resources are used effectively
- Effectiveness: The extent to which goals are achieved
These are just a few of the many quantitative metrics that can be used to monitor business projects. Project managers should choose the most appropriate metrics for their specific project.
5. Team metrics and communication
Team and communication metrics are specific indicators used to assess and monitor the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of interactions and dynamics within a team and the quality and effectiveness of communication among team members and with external stakeholders.
These metrics are critical to ensuring that a team works cohesively, and that information is shared clearly and timely.
Some of these may be:
- Team morale: A motivated and satisfied team is more productive. Monitoring morale can help identify and solve problems before they become serious.
- Communication efficiency: Communication is vital in any project. If information does not flow properly, misunderstandings and delays can arise.
Best practices to monitor business projects
In addition to the tools and metrics mentioned, there are other strategies and practices that project managers can adopt to get business projects under control:
- Regular reviews: Schedule periodic reviews of the project to assess progress against established goals. This helps to identify any deviations early and take necessary corrective action.
- Stakeholder engagement: Maintain open and regular communication with all project stakeholders. Understanding their expectations and concerns can help prevent future problems.
- Risk management: Identify potential risks at the beginning of the project and develops mitigation plans. Monitor these risks regularly and adjusts mitigation plans accordingly.
- Team training: Ensure your team has the skills and training to execute the project successfully. Ongoing training can help fill any gaps in skills.
- Use of agile methodologies: Adopting agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, can help to manage projects better, allowing for greater flexibility and adaptability to change.
- Complete documentation: Maintain detailed documentation of all phases of the project. This helps in tracking and serves as a reference for future projects.
- Continuous feedback: Promote regular feedback from the team and stakeholders. This can provide valuable information about what is working and what may need modification.
- Use of collaboration tools: Project management tools, such as Twproject, can facilitate communication and collaboration among team members, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
- Workload balancing: Monitor the workload of each team member to make sure no one is overloaded. Distributing work fairly can prevent delays and quality problems.
- Post-project evaluations: At the end of each project, conduct a post-project review to discuss what worked, what did not work, and lessons learned. This can provide valuable insights to improve the management of future projects.
Corporate projects: everything is under control with Twproject
Twproject is a project management software that allows you to keep track of all kinds of projects, regardless of their size and complexity.
The software offers several features essential to any project’s success, helpful in collecting and analyzing data, identifying deviations, and taking corrective action.
Here is how you can use Twproject to monitor projects:
- Gantt Chart: Twproject offers an interactive Gantt chart that visualizes the project schedule regarding tasks, dependencies, and deadlines. This tool provides a clear view of the project’s progress and allows changes to be made in real-time.
- Kanban board: For those who prefer an agile approach, Twproject offers a Kanban board that allows you to visualize and manage activities at different stages, making it easier to monitor progress and identify bottlenecks.
- Timesheet: The software allows you to track the time spent on each activity by team members. This helps ensure that resources are used efficiently and that the project stays within budget.
- Dashboards and reports: Twproject offers many customizable dashboards and reports that provide an overview of the project, including progress, resources used, costs, and other important KPIs.
- Notifications and alerts: Receive real-time notifications about any problems, delays, or changes in the project. This allows you to take timely action and make informed decisions.
- Resource management: Uses the interactive workload and schedule view to monitor resource allocation. Quickly identify who is overloaded or underutilized and adjust.
- Mobile access: Twproject’s mobile platform allows you to monitor your projects on the go. You can access data, receive updates, and make decisions wherever you are.
- Document management: In addition to tracking activities and resources, Twproject allows you to keep track of all documents associated with the project. You can quickly access specific versions, lock files, and organize documents efficiently.
- Agile support: The software allows you to monitor activities, ideas, bugs, and features within your projects, ensuring that everything stays aligned with project goals.
By incorporating these features and tools, Twproject provides a comprehensive solution to effectively monitor corporate projects, ensuring they stay on track and achieve their goals.