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How to Evaluate Your Project

How to Evaluate Your Project
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

When working on a project, it is vitally important to continually evaluate and monitor it to ensure that you are staying on track and on budget. This can be very time consuming and difficult if you do not have the proper training.

Evaluating a project is collecting and analyzing data to determine whether the objectives have been achieved. It measures the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of the project. Monitoring the project provides information that an evaluator can use to aid in decisions about improving, continuing, or discontinuing a project. It includes tracking various aspects of the project.

In order to track the various sections, a scorecard may be used. Scorecards are categories of key measures that evaluate the effectiveness of organizations, divisions within organizations, programs, projects, and sometimes multiple projects. They can often include customer/employee satisfaction, operational efficiency, revenue measures, and milestone measures for goals. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Foundations – Project Status Reporting

Project Management Foundations – Project Status Reporting
By Steve Hart

For those familiar with the movie classic that pokes fun at the workplace, Office Space, you probably remember the scene where that boss repeatedly nags his subordinate about the importance of a cover page on the TPS reports. This exchange between the boss and subordinate highlights that status reporting is a management mandated activity that does very little in terms of getting actual work done.

Unfortunately, many project teams maintain this same attitude when it comes to project status reporting. This project management purist views project status reporting as an integral component of effective project communications and reporting (no surprise there). In fact, I would go so far as to say it represents one of a handful of best practice areas that ensures success throughout the execution phase of the project life cycle.

Nobody Reads It, Why Do It?

  1. Facilitates communications – This is the obvious reason – The project status report establishes a consistent and timely vehicle for fact based reporting about the project that can be consumed in a meaningful manner by all stakeholders (core team members, project sponsors, and other interested parties).
Read the Complete Article

The Color-coded Project Portfolio – Where is the Balance?

The Color-coded Project Portfolio – Where is the Balance?
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Regardless of whether you are a seasoned project manager or you are embarking on your first project, the use of “color indicators” or “symbols” to indicate the health or status of a project (or a program or portfolio) is most likely something you will relate to. We have touched upon it in a previous article titled “What Makes a Good KPI Framework”. The use of colors and symbols for project dashboards, project health, and project portfolio reporting is commonplace today in project and portfolio management. Whether or not you use traffic signal lights (i.e. Green, Amber, and Red) or other colors, the symbolism is the same. As an example, in the Green, Amber, and Red scenario, Green indicates “all is well”, Amber indicates corrective action is warranted, and Red indicates an important risk, issue or several of either need to be addressed and resolved. Read the Complete Article

What Makes a Good Project KPI Framework?

What Makes a Good Project KPI Framework?
By Gary Hamilton, Gareth Byatt, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs as generally referred to by all of us, are a powerful tool at the project manager’s disposition that can, if structured appropriately:

  1. Play an important role in driving the behaviours and actions undertaken on a project.
  2. Have a significant effect on the reporting and monitoring of a project’s progress.

Our article does not seek to focus on enterprise-wide or portfolio-level KPI metrics, nor does it seek to be all-encompassing in the uses of specific types of KPIs that can be deployed or how KPIs and metrics can help to run a business. We simply put forward some “pointers” to think about for project-level KPI control and how KPIs can be a tool to help you as an effective project manager ‘manage’ your project.
The type of KPIs you use is influenced (determined, even) by the size and nature of your project. Read the Complete Article

5 Tips On Project Report

5 Tips On Project Report
By Petrus Keyter

One of the more important tasks of a project manager is ongoing project reporting. This communication with all stakeholders, from the executive members down to the actual team members is very important in order to keep everyone on the project well informed. To assist you in effective project reporting, the following five tips are very important.

  1. Project status

    Produce a project status report on a weekly basis, where you can show the planned versus actual effort, percentage completion and also financial budget versus actual. Include all open risks, issues and changes. You may also want to include a summary of the next week’s tasks, upcoming milestones and deliverables.

  2. Project schedule and completed tasks

    You must on a regular basis show the project owner, sponsor and other stakeholders progress on project tasks. Produce a summarized view showing all tasks with percentage completed. You may also want to add this report as an appendix to your weekly project status report.

Read the Complete Article

Three Tips for Project Tracking

Three Tips for Project Tracking
By Andrea Brockmeier

What do your team members do when you ask them the question, “Where are you at on the project?” Ignore you? Stare blankly? Look confused? Cower?

What makes tracking and reporting so difficult? After all, “Where are you at?” is a completely reasonable and fair question. In fact, without answers to that question, we have very little information for our stakeholders.

Many things make tracking and reporting on projects difficult. Project Managers often don’t have authority over the resources, and team members may not feel obligated to provide timely answers. Those providing answers may not be clear on what information is being asked, or they may be dependent on others before they can report progress on their part of the project. Fear of the response to their answer also drives a lot of behavior around tracking and reporting.

Three things to keep in mind to make the Q and A around project tracking and reporting less painful:

  1. Be transparent

    Tell and show everyone how project information is being used.

Read the Complete Article

Quarter Principle in Project Status Reports

Quarter Principle in Project Status Reports
By Elrich Linde

What is it about quarters? Why do we have to report quarterly? Why are some sport games broken up into quarters and why do certain countries even have quarters as a coin?

Over hundreds of years people have come to realize that if you summarize or break something down, one of the best way to do it is by quarters. It is interesting to note that if you summarize or break something down into thirds, it appears to be too high level. Fifths sometimes work, but you run the risk of becoming too detailed and in the process losing the value of what you are trying to achieve.

I like quarters and I like to apply this Quarter Principle often. One place that it works beautifully is with Project Status Reports. Does it mean you have headings stating Quarter one, Quarter two, Quarter three and Quarter four? Read the Complete Article

A Minimalist’s Approach to Project Metrics

A Minimalist’s Approach to Project Metrics
By Owen Head

What project metrics do you keep? A simple question, right? Perhaps, but there are so many ways to get wound around the axle in the age of information where every question has twenty equally compelling and comprehensive answers.

I personally prefer a minimalist when it comes to metrics management (or anything for that matter, methods, templates, …, anything). The issue for most PM’s (and other managers) when presented with the intellectual overkill found in so many advanced methodologies, models, templates, worksheets, etc., is in identifying what to keep and what to toss. Instead, many feel compelled to make use of every process step, template, and metric.

The trouble is, projects come in all shapes and sizes, and the one size fits all standards don’t usually fit all that well. Very few projects will require a lion’s share of the metrics included in any comprehensive off-the-shelf standard/methodology (PMBoK, PRINCE II, …). Read the Complete Article

Improving Project Management Performance – Job Huddles

Improving Project Management Performance – Job Huddles
By Dave Nielsen

Of all the forms of meetings in the project plan, perhaps the biggest bang for your buck is the job huddle. The job huddle should be used as a tool to bring a project back on track, or to prevent it from going off track when it’s trending in that direction. If all facets of your project are on schedule and on budget, don’t waste time holding them — they’ll just be viewed as punishment for meeting the goals you set for the team (“the beatings will continue until morale improves … “).

Job huddles are informal meetings held for the purpose of reviewing progress for the previous period’s work and identifying any issues or problems that are blocking progress. They originated with football huddles — when the team on offense forms a circle and the next play is discussed with the team, with the quarterback leading the discussion. Read the Complete Article

The Project Scorecard

The Project Scorecard
By Dave Nielsen

Senior executives use Project Scorecards, also known as Balanced Scorecards, to ensure project activity aligns with the strategies and visions of the organization. The scorecard is a little like putting the reader in the driver’s seat of a car. They need a view through a clear windshield to determine the direction the project is headed in and instrumentation such as the speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, and water temperature gauge to ensure the car is performing correctly and not in danger of breaking down or crashing. By the way, the reason these scorecards are often referred to as “balanced scorecards”? Previous to their introduction, executives had only a view of the financial performance of operations or projects. A need was identified for a more “balanced” view of activities, one that would include measurements of other aspects of performance.

Project Scorecards should satisfy 2 project requirements: the need for a vehicle to communicate project performance and health to busy executives and the need to compare performance across multiple projects. Read the Complete Article

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