Success Metrics

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Project Management

10 Project Management Metrics You Should Know About 

A project manager dreams about one thing — not flying, falling or losing their teeth — but successful projects. Their job is to remove chance from the equation and make sure every project is delivered on time and within budget. How do they do this?

With data.

They use project management performance metrics to evaluate the progress of a project. Depending on how things are going, project managers either stay the course or pivot strategies.

We’ve compiled 10 useful project management metrics to help project managers write effective OKRs and achieve their goals.

10 of the best project metrics examples

We share 10 project success metrics examples and reveal why they matter.

  1. Planned Value (PV)
  2. Earned Value (EV)
  3. Actual Cost (AC)
  4. Cycle time
  5. Cost Performance Index (CPI)
  6. Gross profit margin
  7. Return on Investment (ROI)
  8. Resource utilisation
  9. Schedule variance
  10. Cost variance 

1. Planned Value (PV)

Planned Value (PV) estimates the progress and authorised budget of scheduled projects. PV is calculated by dividing the project budget by the project's progress percentage. The PV at the six-month mark of a $100,000 year-long project will be $50,000.

Why it matters

When you know the planned value of a project, you can determine if you are on schedule and within budget. The PV can also help project managers see whether delays or unexpected costs have impacted their performance.

2. Earned Value (EV)

Earned Value (EV) measures how much you have actually made or completed versus spent on a project. While the calculation is similar, EV differs from Planned Value as it considers actual performance.

Why it matters

Earned Value reveals what you have gained from your project investment so far. With greater visibility and control over a project’s performance, project managers can stay on track and achieve their objectives.

3. Actual Cost (AC)

In project management, Actual Cost is the total amount spent on the work completed. AC is calculated by totalling a project’s expenses since its commencement.

Why it matters

Understanding a project’s Actual Cost is essential to responsible resourcing. Project managers can better distribute funds across ongoing projects and improve budgeting for similar work in the future.

4. Cycle time

Cycle time is the amount of time it takes to finish a project task. This metric factors in time spent working on a task, including idle time.

Why it matters

Cycle time optimises your team’s performance by telling you exactly how much time you spend producing an item or finishing a task. Measuring the cycle time enhances the accuracy of your predictions and helps you better resource for projects in the future.

5. Cost Performance Index (CPI)

Cost Performance Index (CPI) measures a project's cost efficiency and financial effectiveness. It’s calculated by dividing Earned Value (EV) by Actual Cost (AC).

Why it matters

Your project's budget performance is easily measured numerically by CPI. A CPI greater than one indicates good performance, and a CPI less than one suggests overbudgeting.

6. Gross profit margin

Gross profit margin measures a profit as a percentage of sales revenue. It’s calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from net sales. Gross profit margin does not consider tax, interest or operating costs.

Why it matters

A business' gross profit margin measures how efficiently it makes money and how profitable it is. A project manager can get a good picture of growth by looking at gross profit margin historical data.

7. Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is the amount earned in exchange for the amount invested in a project. In simpler terms, it’s how much your projects make. It is calculated by dividing a project’s Earned Value (EV) by its costs.

Why it matters

ROI tracks how a project's budget progresses and how it's converted to income. It informs future projects and evaluates the health of projects in progress. It also quantifies the value of a project, making it easy to track and share.

8. Resource utilisation

Resource utilisation measures how much time teams spend on project tasks. It’s calculated by dividing your team’s total work hours by the actual hours worked.

Why it matters

Project managers can use resource utilisation metrics to track how much time their team realistically spends on a project. It can help you discover if your resources are over- or under-utilised. It also enables you to determine if your resource allocation covers costs and makes a profit.

9. Schedule variance

Schedule variance measures a project’s development by comparing actual progress against expected progress. It’s calculated by deducting a project’s estimated value (Planned Value) from the actual value (Earned Value). 

Why it matters

Schedule variance gives you an accurate view of a project’s performance at any given time. Further, it helps monitor and prevent unnecessary expenses by promoting better planning to avoid costly project delays.

10. Cost variance 

Cost variance measures the difference between expected and actual spending. It’s calculated by deducting a project's tangible costs (Actual Cost) from the budgeted cost (Earned Value). 

Why it matters

Cost variance tracking helps managers avoid overspending or underspending on a project. It demonstrates your ability to plan the project efficiently and prevent cost risks.

Implementing metrics in project management 

Let’s get to the fun part — putting your new-found knowledge to use. Once you’ve gathered project data, it’s time to start executing changes in your business.

There’s the easy way and the hard way — you can blindly implement your findings and hope for the best, or you can use a tried-and-true method like OKRs to achieve your goals. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting methodology that outlines your business goals, and sets key results to make it easier to track progress. 

Data-driven project performance metrics guide Objectives (O) and Key Results (KRs), assess success and keep project teams on track.

See examples of project OKRs for a better understanding, or sign up for a free trial of OKRs platform Tability!

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Project Management

Metrics with OKRs

Check out our OKRs for

Project Management

guide, and connect your favorite Success Metrics to objectives you can execute on.

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Pair your Success Metrics to OKRs

Check outour OKRs Examples and connect your favorite Success Metrics to an objective you can execute on.

Browse OKRs Examples →

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