The Performance Metrics Process

As alluded to in a prior post, measuring project (or program) success and performance is often treated as a simple quantitative exercise. Did the project get completed on time? Did it arrive in or under budget? Did the project follow the standards for execution and match the guidelines as dictated by the internal PMO? (If any)

These are often the most basic questions one may ask when performing a post-mortem on a project. Coupled with analysis of various key performance indicators, a summary of the success or failure of a project will often be treated as a pure mathematical exercise.

But in the end, can a project’s success truly be defined simply by acknowledging that it met all the criteria in a preconceived checklist? Or is there something more to measure and quantify? What process might be used to identify and tabulate some of these ‘additional’ metrics measures?

Performance Metrics Process

A key aspect to truly gaining a good overall assessment of a project’s performance is to examine both the internal performance as well as the customer impact. How well was the deliverable of the project received by the customer? Did they experience value add?

A good rule of thumb when attempting to gauge project success from the customer perspective is to follow these key steps in the performance metrics process:

1. Adhere to Customer Requirements – Ensure that the deliverable is filling the expectations of what the customer actually wants versus what the project team ‘thinks’ the customer wants. A well drafted requirements document and constant engagement with the customer themselves is paramount to this success.

2. Establish Clear Targets – Give clear and concise milestones for the project. If there is a Beta cycle associated with the release, ensure that it is well documented and made available to the customers. Maintain engagement and be responsive to customer feedback pertaining to the Beta.

3. Develop Good Success Measures – In addition to obvious measures of project success, have customers give feedback rankings on deliverables. Monitor improvements in these measures to determine customer current and ongoing satisfactions. Note: the common mem nowadays is the Net Promoter Score, or ‘NPS‘ as a way of determining customer satisfaction levels. (For more information on NPS scores, please the following:

4. Select Metrics to Use – Brainstorm with the team on which metrics are best suited for gauging customer impact and sentiment. Do not go overboard; pick a concise list to stick with throughout multiple iterations of your release cycles.

5. Select Good KPIs – As always, ensure you also have good Key Performance Indicators and their associated metrics in place to monitor the success of your project.

Maintaining strong customer engagement is fundamental to the success of any organization. Aligning that philosophy with the projects that derive solutions that will eventually service those same customers will lay a solid foundation for project success moving forward.