How do you know for sure that your project is successful? You
might hit your budget and deadline, but is that the only criteria for success?
One way to know whether your project is successful is by gaining agreement on a
set of measures that define success–and then achieving those measures. The
tool that you use to define the metrics is called a Balanced Scorecard. Here is
the overall process used to create the Balance Scorecard.

Identify criteria for success

Review the objectives and deliverables in the Project
Definition, as well as any other existing information that is relevant to the
project. Based on this existing documentation, define the information that is
needed to show that the project was successful. This can be discerned from two

  • Internal.
    These characteristics indicate that the project was managed and executed
    effectively and efficiently.
  • External.
    These characteristics indicate that your project objectives were completed

Assign potential metrics

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Identify potential metrics for each success criteria that
provide an indication of whether you are on track for success. These can be
direct, quantifiable metrics or indirect metrics that give a sense for success

Look for a balance

The potential list of metrics should be placed into
categories to make sure they provide a balanced view of the project. For
instance, you don’t want to end up with only a set of financial metrics, even
though they might be easiest to obtain. In general, look for metrics that
provide information in the areas such as:

  • Cost
  • Effort
  • Duration
  • Productivity
  • Quality
    of deliverables
  • Client
    satisfaction with the deliverables produced
  • Project
    team performance
  • Business
    value delivered

Prioritize the balanced list of metrics

Depending on how many metrics you have identified,
prioritize the list to include only those that have the least cost to collect
and provide the most value to the project. There can certainly be as many
metrics collected as make sense for the project, but there may end up being no
more than one or two per category. Five to eight total metrics would be about

Set targets

The raw metric may be of some interest, but the measure of
success comes from comparing your actuals against a
predefined target. The target provides the context to know if the metric is
good, bad, or moving in the right direction. The target may be a single value
you are trying to achieve or it may be a range. For instance, you may need to
complete your project by a certain fixed date, but your actual cost might need
to be +/- 10% of approved budget.

Use activities to your workplan

For each metric that remains, determine the specific
activities necessary to collect and analyze the information. These activities
are then added to the project workplan.

Once you have done these steps at the beginning of the
project, your team and your clients will understand the criteria that will
indicate success. This allows the team to focus on achieving the success
criteria during the project.