Elements and Benefits of a Project Report Card
Project monitoring is the largest of all the major project states in terms of duration and cost. This also presents the biggest window for risks and issues to come up and adversely affect your project. One way to help increase visibility to your project and ensure that all levels of your organization can peer into the happenings of your project is to build a project report card. This post will spell out the key elements of building out a concise but comprehensive project report card. KPI's Key performance indicators are a great way to quickly view a project’s vitals and determine (even at an executive level) if intervention is needed. At a minimum, your KPI’s should spell out the financial and operational health of your project. Metrics that examine your budget and actuals, planned and earned value are key to assessing the financial health of your project.
Other KPI’s to measure your operational health should examine areas such as quality, scope and schedule. Measuring reported defects, response time and criticality is a great window into the perception of your project deliverables and may infer how your customer is feeling about the quality of the delivery thus far. Having a metric that quickly shows the adherence to the planned schedule can give a glimpse into how the project is progressing according to plan and if there is a variance detected, it may help you and your leadership get in front of an issue before it becomes problematic for your project and the customer.
The nice thing about a standardized project report card is that it allows you to measure all of your projects against the same organizational standards, regardless of the size, scope or duration of your project. While larger projects naturally garner greater attention, having a standard method of reporting project health of your entire portfolio across the board enables your organization to focus efforts on ensuring consistent delivery across all of your projects as well as being able to hone in on specifics about your project to bring it in line with your organization expectations. Not unlike the report cards we all used to get in school, assigning “grades” to your project in the different categories can help ensure that all of your projects are reviewed with the same level of scrutiny and that the “little ones” can’t get away with lax results. This inherently will reinforce good project behavior on all levels and provide a standard by which all of your project teams will strive to meet.
Project report cards are nothing new, but with the tools at the project manager’s disposal these days, it is a no-brainer for organizations to start implementing these as a method of assessing overall project health. Using a common set of metrics against a project-agnostic benchmark established at an organizational level can show how well you are executing organization-wide and not specific to project by project.