Performance Reporting – What to Report?

October 10, 2009
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The information/documents/data you need to consider for generating the performance reports include project management plan, work performance information, work performance measurements, budget forecasts and organizational process assets. You would use these inputs to generate the required reports for your specific organization. Tools to process these inputs also should be used as much as possible.

Project management Plan

This is the guiding beacon, the reference map, the baseline of what was expected of this project. It is the original plan and the baseline against which all changes are to be measured. The baseline for performance measurement is an approved version of the project plan. You compare current project execution with this performance baseline. All deviations need to be considered to decide the controls that must be used to keep things under control. The performance baseline typically would include scope, schedule and cost parameters related to the project. Quite often you may like to include some figures of merit such as technical parameters and quality parameters.

Work Performance Information & Measurements

Work performance data you want to collect are indicators related to project performance results. These include deliverable status, progress of schedule, and of course the costs incurred. These are then used to generate performance measurements that could indicate actual progress versus planned progress. Progress on schedule, cost and technical performance are typical metrics. Depending on the project or the organization you may have to include other metrics. This is the most crucial part of the performance assessment. Whether the project is on track or off, what corrections are required and if any performance problems are foreseen; are things you want to get a good feel of at every monitoring control point.

Quite often this may also be the most difficult part to get a good grip on. For software projects for example one major problem with progress reporting is the differing sense of closure people have on activities. When a team lead reports completion of a module all he may mean is that coding is complete. That would mean the testing period has not been completed and that will have an adverse effect on the project. Projects in other areas may have similar effects that affect the assessment of completion.

Cost Performance

Budget forecasts are used to control costs and that’s a very vital part of project management. You should very clearly measure if there is going to be any need for additional funds for your project. You also should forecast if there is any long-term effect on the budgetary numbers. If the overall costs are going to be affected, projects/forecasts need to be made now.

Organizational Process Assets

The report for performance process is affected/ influenced by several organizational process assets. These include report templates, policies and procedures that define indicators and measures to be used and organizationally defined variance limits. Report templates are quite often dictated by what has evolved over time and indicators to be used would be dictated by the collective wisdom that is contained in these process asset documents.

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