Performance Reporting

As we have touched on several times already, another key aspect of project control is measuring and reporting project performance. We could easily spend an entire chapter (or two) reviewing the various options, factors, and challenges involved with this process. However, if you keep these following principles in mind, you can adapt your performance reporting process to best meet the needs of your project environment:

  • Answer the Big Three Questions As a rule, key stakeholders want to know the answers to these three questions when reviewing project performance:

    Where do we stand? (in regard to the critical success factors)

    What variances exist, what caused them, and what are we doing about them?

    Has the forecast changed?

    Performance reporting requirements should be captured as part of the project communications plan.

  • Measure from Current Baseline If you are going to report project performance with a variance focus, you must establish and maintain your performance baselines. Any change to the performance baselines is controlled via your change control procedures.
  • Think "visual" Another key concept in reporting is to think visually. Most people are visual and spatial learners and will grasp the important project performance metrics more quickly if they are presented in a visual format. The use of bar charts, graphical schedule summaries, and stoplight indicators (red, yellow, and green) for key metrics are good examples of this technique.
  • Think "summary page" Along this same theme, you generally want to provide your key status information in no more than 12 pages. If it is appropriate to have details that will take more than 12 pages, it is recommended that your provide a one summary page upfront.
  • Highlight accomplishments A part of the status report's function is to serve as a public relations tool for the project, so make sure key accomplishments are highlighted prominently.
  • Show forecasts In addition to reporting how the project has performed to-date, remember to show the forecasted schedule and cost metrics. Often, this information is shown as Estimated At Completion (EAC) and Estimated To Complete (ETC) figures. Specifically, highlight any changes to these figures from the last reporting period.
  • Highlight key issues, risks, and change requests A natural category when assessing project performance. Make sure any key issues, risks, and change requests are included on status reports. We will discuss these in greater detail in subsequent chapters
  • Avoid surprises An important point about consistent, performance-based status reporting is that stakeholders are aware and knowledgeable regarding overall project status and are not caught offguard with project developments. To this extent, depending on the audience for any status report, you may want to communicate with specific stakeholders in advance of any official report distribution. Always remember, don't surprise anyoneespecially your sponsors and accountable senior management stakeholders.
  • Adapt to meet stakeholder needs This is an example of the customer service orientation and servant leadership qualities of effective project managers. Be prepared to offer examples of performance reports that have worked well for you in the past, but most importantly, go into any project looking to understand the information needs for this given environment. Show enthusiasm and willingness to adapt to the customer's standards or to develop custom formats to best meet the stakeholders' needs.
  • Appropriate frequency Consistent with a management fundamental mentioned earlier, the frequency of performance reporting needs to be appropriate for the project. The process of gathering information and reporting performance needs to be quick enough and occur often enough to be useful and relevant.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169 © 2008-2020.
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