Ilya Pozin has written an article on inc.com that discusses how to be more efficient in a project and how to ensure that your team knows what success should look like. This article gives a good way to decompose aspects of project success, but I found myself thirsting for quantitative measures.
The author mentions six factors for measuring the success of a project: schedule, scope, budget, team satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and quality of work. Each one of these factors entails a measurement challenge, but one that can be handled by the principles of Applied Information Economics.
Schedule is a good example of something that appears binary – you either finish the project by the agreed deadline or you don’t. But what goes into the success of finishing on schedule is anything but binary. At Hubbard Research we’ve found that “how to estimate project completion times” is one of the most asked questions in our calibration webinars, indicating that there is a challenge in this area. Here are some relevant questions that might lead to a more quantitative evaluation of success in scheduling:
- What methods do you use to set the deadline?
- Do you use ranges or an exact date?
- If it is an exact date, what is your level of confidence you will finish by that date? How often do you complete by your initially stated date?
- If it is a range, how confident are you in the range? How often do you finish within that range?
- Do you decompose the project and set smaller milestone deadlines? (Decomposing the project into smaller milestone deadlines will also give you more feedback on your estimates versus actual).
- What steps do you take to ensure you achieve your deadlines?
- If you don’t achieve the deadline because of some acknowledged and unavoidable issue on the client side, how can you define things up front so that you still can achieve project success?
For each of the remaining 5 project success factors, the author describes the factor but doesn’t really present a quantitative approach to measuring it. Fans of Doug’s work will know that each of these factors can be described quantitatively by using the .COM process (concept, object, method). Please comment below on some ways that you might measure “customer satisfaction” or “quality of work.”