Every organization needs to learn how to evaluate its progress, but how do you define and measure how close you are to meeting company goals and how effectively you’re using your resources?
First, let’s define measurement: A system of metrics that ascertains and reports in quantifiable units the degree of progress towards achieving a goal.
There are four key project management metrics you can use to evaluate whether you’re properly leveraging your resources as you work toward a goal. These metrics can not only show you whether you’re optimizing your resources, they can provide you with vital information to help you mitigate issues in your organization before they become too serious or unmanageable.
4 Key Project Management Measures
There’s an endless amount of tools organizations can leverage in order to measure the effectiveness of a project and their team’s progress towards a goal. However, it’s during the planning phase that leadership should define and identify the four key metrics as future measurements for a project’s success:
Let’s dive deeper into each of these measurements.
1. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
OKRs comprise a strategic framework for both the objective and key results a company needs to achieve its goal.
Many organizations define these objectives via qualitative descriptions, while defining key results as a set of metrics that measure their progress towards the objective.
For instance, this is how you would define an OKR:
We will____(objective) ____as measured by ____(key result) ____.
2. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
KPIs are performance measurement tools or formulas that organizations use to identify a team’s progress on a project or other activity. These indicators differ from OKRs in that, while an OKR is a framework, a KPI is a metric. This distinction means that the key result of an OKR could be the KPI.
It’s important for project leaders to choose the right KPI to ensure the team is making progress on all goals. It’s also crucial for management to understand the specific priority and how to measure it to clearly communicate this information.
While organizations can use both qualitative and quantitative measures, teams far prefer to measure progress quantitatively. Importantly, a KPI can only measure what has already happened and is not a forward-looking measurement but rather a lagging measurement. It indicates whether or not you’re making progress towards your goal by tracking it over a period of time.
Leaders who want to begin developing KPIs to measure their organization’s progress can look to the SMART criteria for guidance in creating them:
Relevant (to the goal)
Timebound (for a particular period)
Points of Measurement for KPIs
- Inputs: KPIs can measure the resources (time, capital, etc.) an organization is utilizing to track input vs. output.
- Progress: KPIs can measure plan and process efficiency and effectiveness.
- Output: KPIs can measure the outcome or result of a plan. For instance, if Arootah was looking to hire the highest quality executive coaches, we might ask: How many coaches have we hired, and are they meeting the highest quality standards we’ve set for them?
Potential Issues to Consider with KPIs
- Build vs. buy: There are literally thousands of KPIs to choose from. It’s important to carefully select one that aligns with the goals you’re trying to achieve. Alternatively, you can design your own KPI to meet your objective.
- Unintended consequences: Be sure to keep your goal paramount, otherwise KPIs can actually lead your company away from the goal. For instance, if an organization incentivizes its employees to meet specific KPIs, employees may work to improve those KPIs at the expense of quality or value to the overall goal.
- Complexity issues: Keep measurement easy and efficient, otherwise:
- Employees may resist using it
- Measures may be incorrect
- The measurement itself may eat up valuable resources that could have been used to achieve the actual goal
Milestones are actions or events that mark important stages of development within the project being completed. They serve as checkpoints throughout the life of your project.
Deliverables are measurable and tangible outcomes of a project teams provide as a result of executing on it. Consider which deliverables are essential in helping your team achieve a goal.
What Gets Measured?
In the words of Peter Drucker, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
We’ve previously stated that resource management is the most important responsibility of any leader. This includes making sure you:
- Have enough resources to complete your goals
- Obtain the highest return on your investment
As such, the answer to “what gets measured?” is resources.
3 Key Resources
It’s crucial to track the most valuable resources of your organization. While there are endless resources a leader can measure, the most important ones are:
Let’s explore these further:
Time is our most precious resource; how we use it is contingent upon our energy, discipline (or willpower), and focus. It’s important we use time effectively because it is a “keystone” resource. When learning how to manage our time, prioritization is critical as it helps us understand which tasks are most important to our mission, which tasks we can delegate to other people, and which tasks we can automate through technology.
Technology and delegation give us back our time. This is important to note because poor use of time in business increases capital costs. In other words, time is not free. You pay for it with the capital resource as well, so, when it’s wasted, you essentially burn two resources.
An organization’s people are its most important asset, which is why measuring individual team member performance is critical.
Are employees getting results by achieving the top goals of the company? How much time and money do you have to invest in them to obtain those results?
Leaders also need to measure themselves the same way. After all, you are a human resource too, which means that, as the leader of an organization, you must measure your performance.
Keeping a watchful eye on employee metrics can help you get a clear pulse on what’s happening at your organization. Employee metrics can include:
- Job satisfaction
- Performance management
Capital is another limited resource. We need to monitor our expenses and measure the return on our capital investments.
While most leaders already know to measure capital, it’s a mistake to neglect measuring time and human resources, as both are extremely valuable and perhaps, even more valuable than money.
The Bottom Line
By measuring different factors in your organization, you can ensure you’re optimizing every resource at your disposal.
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the measurements within your realm of responsibility as a leader. While it may seem like unglamorous work, setting up these frameworks for success can have a major positive impact on your organization’s goals.
Looking for more tips to help your organization thrive? Be sure to download a copy of our free eBook, The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula.
Do you keep track of all these metrics? Let us know what you need help with in the comments!