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Project performance  > Indicators and dashboards

Indicators and dashboards

A good definition of project monitoring indicators is an essential step, because it determines the number and the nature of the measures to collect as well as the structure of the dashboard. To determine indicators and measures, RSM Techno applies the Goal-Question-Metrics technique, developed by Victor Basili and widely used in the industry. The first step is to establish the management’s expectations related to project performance (Goals); these goals are then specified and refined by using several questions and, finally, the metrics to be collected are chosen to answer these questions.

Choosing Good Indicators

Understanding the past helps us to better predict the future. The indicators of past performance ("lag") help us to understand what happened in the project and what is its current situation. The forecasting indicators ("lead") help us predict where the project is going and allow us to act proactively.

We have standardized a range of proactive indicators ("lead"), which are mostly based on the method of earned value.

Balanced Scorecard (2)

One of the best ways to link IT initiatives to the strategic objectives of the company, taking into account and balance all factors affecting your performance, is the method of "Balanced Scorecard". This proactive approach, by combining financial and non-financial measures, allows you to measure and manage your overall performance and to balance your long and short term objectives in a very efficient manner. The combination of "lag" and "lead" measures allows you to identify and correct the weaknesses before they become problems and affect your organization. The measures (indicators) are balanced so that they truly represent an equilibrium between the different organizational perspectives (learning, processes, client and financial).

RSM Techno has developed a general framework of Balance Scorecard which can easily be adapted to your reality.

Standardized Indicators and Measures

The proposed measures and indicators are based on the earned value method and are fully standardized. You can see below an example of how the indicator is standardized.


Contingency vs. Management Reserve

Contingency - Provisions of the budget reserved for events that are not certain, but for which we can determine the probability and impact on project costs, schedule or content. In other words, these are the reserves established for project risk management ("nown-unknowns").

Management Reserve - Budget provisions reserved for unexpected and unplanned changes affecting the content and cost of the project ("unknown-unknowns").

Is there a pilot in the plane?

Organizations are often focused on just a few financial "strategic" indicators, such as return on investment (ROI). They neglect to take into account the “big business picture”. To illustrate this, we'll paraphrase here the example of Caplan and Norton in the book "Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action". You are on the plane and the pilot makes the following announcement: "Dear passengers, as I cannot do too many things well at the same time, today, I will only focus on the airspeed indicator and I will neglect the other indicators.”

Would you be willing to get on that plane? Probably not.

Performance Measurement Baseline

The project performance baseline integrates scope, budget and schedule and an effective control of the project baseline is critical to project success. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to control the project performance if the baseline is not established and managed.

If you change the project performance baseline as soon as there is an overrun, your indicators will always be green. On the other hand, if you do not change the baseline despite the certainty that you cannot catch the overruns already made, your indicators may remain red until the end of the project.

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