Business decisions are made based upon key performance indicators (KPI), metrics, and information communicated through a businesses’ network. Reducing complex projects down to metrics allows for quick comparison and trend analysis within a project, between projects and across an industry. The delivery and receipt of the same message is required for true communication. Project communications will be at the epicenter of a project manager’s responsibilities and key to the project’s success. Communicating metrics requires a common understanding of what the metrics include and exclude, an agreed upon trigger point, and a known process to respond to exceptions. Not having all these communication elements can result in misinterpretation and lead to project failure. A basic, but solid understanding of the fundamentals of earned value management allows for a beneficial communication process and the detection and determination of false information. How project metrics are used at a company will shape the behavior of those being measured and culture of the company. It is human nature to seek pleasure and a survival instinct to avoid pain. Be careful what you measure.
Ryan Smith is the principal consultant at R. W. Smith Consulting, a project management consultancy with a specialty in project controls and earned value management. He also provides services in project management training, business/financial modeling, integrated master scheduling and program initializing, planning & execution.
Ryan currently holds certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP) from the Project Management Institute and an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from AACEI. Ryan earned his Bachelors of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering and his Masters in Business Administration (MBA), both from the University of Florida.
Through his career, Ryan’s customers have included the US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Census Bureau, Large and Small Defense Contractors.