Improving Project Progress and Performance Assessment

RT-322 Topic Summary
RT 322

Overview

Assessment of project progress and performance is critically important to the successful delivery of capital facility projects. Major challenges are related to the lack of consistent, objective, and reliable project controls metrics and indicators. Without the appropriate use and interpretation of these data, establishing suitable corrective action plans becomes even more formidable. RT-322 identified a suite of core metrics for in-flight project controls, as well as factors that can improve the reliability of project progress and performance assessment. The research team revealed that projects using more core metrics will have greater likelihood of achieving better cost performance outcomes.

20 Core and 28 Significant metrics are further categorized based on their roles and functions in project controls. The team also identified 15 Critical Reliability Factors and 83 indicators that individually and collectively influence the reliability of project progress and performance assessment metrics. 

Implementation Resource (IR) 322-2, Project Controls Improvement (PCI) Tool and User Guide, provides a dynamic and interactive software for all project stakeholders through its four specific modules. The tool contains valuable information on the Core metrics and Critical Reliability Factors to ensure robust project progress and performance assessment. This software is an effective tool to improve cost and schedule outcomes at both the project and organizational levels. Project management and control teams can use the PCI Tool to evaluate current practices regarding project progress and performance assessment and receive customized suggestions, enabling them to make improvements based on identified gaps and recommended actions. 

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Metric Categories 

Identified a list of 111 potential project control metrics based on the data gathered. Classified in-flight project control metrics based on their roles, importance, and functionality:
  1. Roles: Forecasting (predicting project cost and schedule outcomes based on the current understanding of project progress and performance) vs. Diagnostic (signaling progress and performance issues to inform corrective actions).
  2. Importance: Core (“must have” metrics that provide the greatest insight into project controls) vs. Significant (supplement or complement Core metrics as needed).
  3. Functionality: Data (Data Collection), Information (Progress Measurement), Knowledge (Performance Assessment), Insight (Performance Forecasting).

(RS322-1, p. 9)
Reference: (RS322-1)

2 : Use and Interpretation of Core Metrics 

Use and interpretation of Core metrics enable project stakeholders to better understand and implement them to manage and control project performance. The use and interpretation details for each Core metric includes: background information and explanations, requirements and timing for use, application scenarios, and relationships among the different metrics.

(RS322-1, p. 12)

Reference: (RS322-1)

3 : The Impact of Project Characteristics on Core Metrics

RT-322 found that the Core metrics would remain the same for projects with different characteristics. However, it is anticipated that the main differences would be in the level of effort and the frequency of data collection and reporting. The study found the following project characteristics to have the greatest impact for creating this difference in the use of Core metrics: Perspective (Owner versus Contractor); Project Size; Contract Type; Project Complexity; and Schedule or Cost Priority.

(RS322-1, p. 13)

Reference: (RS322-1)

4 : Validation of Core Metrics

Statistical analysis of data revealed that projects that used more Core metrics for project controls experienced higher rates of success at meeting their original budgets. A correlation between the use of more Core metrics and better project cost outcomes was observed at the 95% confidence level using the Spearman’s rank correlation method.

(RS322-1, p. 14)

Reference: (RS322-1)

5 : Critical Reliability Factors 



a.    The team identified 15 Critical Reliability Factors (CRFs) that influence the reliability of project control metrics:
  1. Project Scope Definition
  2. Project Execution Planning
  3. Project Control Planning
  4. Progress Measurement
  5. Schedule and Cost Development and Tracking
  6. Change Management
  7. Risk Management
  8. Progress Audits
  9. Metric Trend Analysis
  10. Schedule Forecasting
  11. Cost Forecasting
  12. Communication
  13. Teamwork
  14. Accountability
  15. Project Control Audits 

b.    CRFs are defined as factors that individually and collectively influence the reliability of project progress and performance assessment metrics.
c.    83 reliability indicators associated with these CRFs are also provided. 
d.    Each indicator has a specific assigned timeframe, defined by five timing milestones (i.e., prior to, at the beginning, during, at the end, post) for different project phases. 
e.    These specific timing milestones should be carefully considered for effective implementation of CRFs and indicators.
f.    There may be additional CRFs and indicators depending on project characteristics, requirements, and project team perspective; project teams can identify these additional CRFs and expand on the provided list.

(RS322-1, p. 17)
Reference: (RS322-1)

6 : Implementation Tool #1

IR322-2, Project Controls Improvement (PCI) Tool and User Guide

I.    Metrics Gap Analysis Module
Identify the gaps in your project control plans and the recommended additional metrics for improved progress and performance assessment. 
II.    Reliability Gap Analysis Module
Continuously assess and build reliability into your project controls through achievement of 15 Critical Reliability Factors (CRFs) and 83 indicators. 
III.    Metric Dictionary and Maps
Delve into a comprehensive database of project controls metrics, including information related to metric categories, definitions, equations, uses and interpretations, references, additional resources, and metric maps
IV.    Project Control Utilities
Through the Core Metrics Directory, learn about 20 Core metrics and how they can provide greater insight for project cost and schedule outcomes. Also identify factors and indicators to improve reliability, using Reliability Improvement Checklist. 
 
Reference: (IR322-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved project controls

Research Publications

Project Controls Improvement Tool and User Guide - IR322-2

Publication Date: 11/2016 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 125 Status: Tool

Improving Project Progress and Performance Assessment by Using Core Project Control Metrics - RR322-11

Publication Date: 11/2016 Type: Research Report Pages: 109 Status: Reference

Metrics That Matter: Improving Project Progress and Performance Assessment - RS322-1

Publication Date: 11/2016 Type: Research Summary Pages: 34 Status: Supporting Product


Supporting Resources

Presentations (CII Annual Conference & Workshops)

Plenary Session - Metrics that Matter: Improving Project Progress and Performance Assessment

Publication Date: 08/2016 Presenter: Number of Slides: 17 Event Code: AC2016

Implementation Session - Metrics that Matter: Improving Project Progress and Performance Assessment

Publication Date: 08/2016 Presenter: Number of Slides: 47 Event Code: AC2016


Tags