Nine project performance metrics to start monitoring now

Posted by Team Sharktower on December 13th, 2021

Nothing can increase the likelihood of project success overnight. But if you’re looking to improve your value outcomes, and you don’t yet have a project management platform to generate the insights for you, monitoring project performance metrics manually is something you can put into practice straight away.

There are, however, quite a few different metrics to choose from, so we’ve put together a list of the best ones to consider first.


Before you start

To monitor any metric, you’ll need a decent amount of good quality project data. This is one of the main challenges when it comes to analysing project performance, so if you don’t yet have the data you need, it’s important to help your colleagues – at all levels – understand the value data can bring to their day-to-day work.

We’ve found that when stakeholders realise they can make fast, educated decisions, they want to interact with data far more. In turn, this encourages team members to provide better data in the first place – when they realise stakeholders really are looking at it and acting on the findings.

Here are our top nine metrics to monitor:


1. Frequency of updates

Whether you’re using a project management tool, or your reports are generated manually, it’s critical to monitor how frequently updates are being made, and by whom.

If updates are infrequent – or only being made by one or two people – it could indicate that a project needs more focus. At that point, it’s a good time to speak to the team or the wider group to find out what’s not going as well as it should.


2. RAG trends

A RAG report provides a snapshot of a project and quickly shows you the areas to focus on. However, it needs to be used carefully to avoid pitfalls such as ‘watermelon’ projects (green on the outside, red on the inside!).

One technique is to monitor the RAG trend over a period of time. That way, if a RAG status hasn’t changed for several weeks, you’ll know to take a closer look at what’s really going on.


3. Project health score

This is an objective score based on time, cost and quality. Without project management software to create a score automatically, it can be hard to calculate, but it can be achieved at a more basic level by scoring 5 or 6 factors using RAG traffic lighting.

As a minimum, try to include:

  • Project schedule: Is the project on track, at risk or off track?
  • Resourcing: Is the project resourced adequately or not?
  • Budget: Is the project over, under or within budget?
  • Risks: Are all project risks in control?
  • Issues: The degree to which project issues need attention
  • Benefits: Are project benefits on or off track?


4. Number and status of activities

This metric can help show if the project is behind or ahead of schedule. By looking at progress in the current week versus the previous, this can indicate if the volume of work is slowing or progressing as expected.

Additionally, calculating the number of overdue activities as a percentage of incomplete activities can help uncover issues such as capacity or resourcing gaps in certain workstreams or teams.


5. Milestone completion rate

This is another metric to indicate if a project is behind or ahead of schedule. Simply measure the number of milestones that were completed versus what was expected.


6. Risk Impact/Probability score

If they aren’t already, your teams should be logging the likely risks that the project faces: assessing the probability of each risk; and assigning a risk likelihood and impact rating. They can be logged in a spreadsheet or any other shared doc – the main thing is that they’re visible, so the project leader can be aware of the risks, prioritise them and monitor them regularly (ideally daily, definitely weekly).

One useful technique is to take the scores, whether on a 1-10 or ‘low-to-high’ scale, and map them out on a risk impact/probability matrix. If you do this effectively, you can focus the majority of your time and effort on the most important risks.


7. Budget vs forecast

Project finances are obviously one of the most important areas when it comes to measuring metrics. When you’re looking at the overall project budget and forecast for future months, we recommend to have least 3-6 months of upfront detailed forecast to ensure expectations are set with stakeholders.


8. Team sentiment score

Most project monitoring focuses on quantitative metrics, but focus should also be given to qualitative metrics. One example is the sentiment of the team; because if they don’t believe in the project or are disengaged with it, it will undoubtedly impact project performance.

To gather qualitative data, some teams run anonymous surveys, while others use team meetings, stand-ups and retrospectives to run quick polls.

Used in conjunction with quantitative indicators, such staff turnover, absenteeism and productivity, these metrics will help you keep track of your team’s morale.


9. Resource allocation rate

This is a metric to monitor the workload of your employees. It helps highlight if any team members are over-allocated (which could have a detrimental effect on project performance), as well as any under-utilised members of the team. This will help you see where you need to reallocate work to make the most of your available resource.


How we do it in Sharktower

For many organisations, data inconsistency is a big issue – with data stored in multiple systems, spreadsheets, project tools and shared drives – making it very difficult to connect this data and draw useful inferences from it. The result is that businesses are often spending hours, sometimes days, every week to manually collate and generate the metrics above. Even then, it can be hard to work out which metrics to focus on.

Sharktower is a single intuitive platform for capturing all project information in one place. All these performance metrics are automated, which saves time and reduces the risk of manual errors. In addition, we can provide visually rich reports, customised to your organisation’s KPIs, to show exactly where you need to focus. And if you want to ensure projects are being planned and managed properly, we can create a tailored report for you.

In this 3.5 minute demo, our Implementation Lead shows how reporting in Sharktower gives you all the info you need.




Let’s talk

If you’d like to know more about how Sharktower can help you manage project performance, get in touch today.