written by: Suba Lakshminarasimhan
• edited by: Jean Scheid
• updated: 8/31/2011
Organizations use various key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of its projects, processes and operations. Find out which is the right KPI for your company.
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KPIs and Project Management
Key performance indicators or KPIs are used widely to measure the performance of certain functions such as marketing, supply chain, IT and manufacturing. Organizations also use KPIs to measure various disciplines of project management. By measuring these aspects of PM, project managers will be able to address the key issues in the overall behavior of the project. If the key issues are identified and solved, the project managers can spend their energy fully on improving the effectiveness of the project deliverables without any hassle. You can also measure the performance of the important project management disciplines periodically by utilizing the KPIs effectively.
There are different types of KPIs used in project management. Let's look at them in detail.
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It is imperative to learn how to use the business resources as key performance indicators to measure your project performance. Project managers want to understand whether all these resources are used appropriately to gain a return on investment. Measuring the impact of certain metrics in PM such as raw materials, electricity usage or software licenses is very important while assessing the project outcomes. For an example, implement an automated process to find out when exactly the software license needs to be renewed. If not renewed at the right time, it may affect the project outcome.The financial transactions are also the key factors to be measured to check whether the project can be completed within the budget as agreed.
The workforce performance is an another important factor that needs to be considered to achieve project success. Find out how your project is working by generating and analyzing the reports. The periodic reports will help to analyze how each employee's time is planned and utilized.
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Quantitative Data and Project Outcome
The data in numbers or the quantitative metrics are the essential factors used as KPIs in project management. The number of employees in a team, computers, hardware supplies, software licenses required for a project and the revenue it is going to generate are used as the most important KPIs to measure project performance. These quantitative metrics help the project managers to gain insight on where the project stands. You can also understand how effective the processes are to achieve a successful project outcome.
The must know Six Sigma metrics like mean time between failures, mean time to repair and the quantitative metrics such as inventory, procurement, supplies, new customers acquired, customer attrition and workforce attrition are the well-known quantitative KPIs used in project management to assess the end results.
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Organizations follow a practice of using process outcomes as the most important KPIs in project management. The success of such processes in projects helps companies in many ways. Project managers implement these processes as the best practices to instigate the process developments and develop more products. In turn, they achieve business growth on a higher level. Using the process outcomes as an essential KPI helps project managers a great deal, especially when the processes are automated.
Project managers also get help from HR managers to find out how the new hire process works in the organization. The ratio between the number of workforce hired versus utilized for a particular year is used as a key performance indicator to analyze the growth of the company. This information can be obtained by analyzing the HR reports. These reports can be generated using the human resources information system (HRIS).
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Project managers use quality assurance methodologies to measure project team performance. There are specific KPIs such as the subject knowledge, technical skills, task performance, effectiveness on achieving project objectives, attitude and communication skills help here. However, measuring certain metrics like employee attitude or their motivational level is quite a tough task. Project managers use some softskills like team spirit and team effectiveness as key indicators to measure the leadership qualities of the project teams.
There are processes help project managers understand how motivated their project teams are. Project managers use questionnaires and surveys to analyze the factors that motivate their teams to produce better results. The quality of such a process is also important to measure the success of your project outcome.
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KPIs for Overall Organizational Growth
Organizations at times feel that using certain KPIs is expensive. Integrate or combine the key performance indicators to measure the performance of your project. Choose the right one that suits the disciplines in your project. Using the wrong measurement technique will spoil your quality time and money. Not only for your project, using KPIs appropriately will help greatly in achieving the overall organizational growth.