Project teams should know if they were successful or not. Sometimes there is a disagreement between the project team and the sponsor. This can always be the case when the criteria are subjective. A better approach is to create a tactical project scorecard that lays out the metrics that validate project success. Then the discussion can become fact-based and not opinion. The six steps to create the project scorecard are as follows:
1. Identify criteria for success
Review the objectives and deliverables in the Project Charter, 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.
2. Assign potential metrics
Identify potential metrics for each success criterion 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 criteria.
3. Look for a balance
The potential list of metrics should be placed into categories to make sure that they provide a balanced view of the project. For instance, you do not 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:
- Quality of deliverables
- Client satisfaction with the deliverables produced
4. 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.
5. 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 current measurement value is good, bad or moving in the right direction.
6. Add schedule detail
For each metric that remains, determine the specific activities necessary to collect and analyze the information. These activities are then added to the project schedule. This information needs to include:
- What specific data is needed for the metrics?
- Who is responsible for collecting the metric?
- When will the metric be collected and reported?
- How will the metrics be reported (status reports, quarterly meetings, metrics reports)?
The project scorecard is updated throughout the project so the team knows how they are tracking against their success criteria. When the project is done you can have a fact-based discussion on project success instead of a discussion based on perception.