Will you know if your project is in trouble?
This seems a silly question and many will answer that it’s obvious – a project is going badly when it’s running late and falling behind schedule and it’s losing money. Yet even when a project is finished late or loses money this is often only detected when the project is almost finished – when it’s usually too late to take corrective action.
Yet these aren’t the only metrics that we should be judging a project’s success by. Recently a student wrote to me on LinkedIn to ask for help with a project that was looking at the parameters that would highlight when a project was distressed. He had decided that if the actual man-hours expended on the project were more than the planned man-hours it would be an indication the project was distressed. Now I explained that this was only one test, and it was a bit like going to a doctor and having your blood pressure tested. High or low blood pressure is indicative that there is a health problem, but having normal blood pressure doesn’t mean that you are healthy. In fact even if the blood pressure reading is high, there might not be a health problem, because there could be other factors giving the high reading, such as; the doctor didn’t carry out the test correctly, or you had just finished a session at the gym or were stressed because you had a job interview straight after the visit to the doctors.
Indeed, whether a job is distressed, or going badly, would also depend on your relationship with the project. Different project stakeholders view the project outcomes differently, and it depends on the impacts on them. So for instance, a client might be far less concerned about the contractor losing money than the contractor would obviously be. But, the fact that the contractor is losing money is often a result of other factors which might eventually negatively impact the project for the client. Certainly, if the contractor loses so much money that they become bankrupt before the project is completed, then it should definitely concern the client – although many clients would ignore this potential problem until it was too late.
Factors that could show your project is in trouble.
There are a number of metrics that are critical to a project’s success. Some of these are early indicators that there is an underlying problem with the project.
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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