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Using KPIs to measure a project team's effectiveness

Moira Alexander | May 18, 2016
Key performance indicators play an indispensable role in project management and aid in measuring the success or failure of project activities. Understanding KPIs and selecting the ones that are best-suited to measuring a specific project team’s performance is not always easy.

Compiling your “to be” list should help greatly in determining the KPIs that would most effectively and accurately measure team performance and strength. As mentioned above, regardless of the nature of the KPIs, remember that they must be not only clearly identified but also achievable and quantifiable in an appropriate form and within specified parameters.

Step 2: Zoom in on the important selection criteria  

To further solidify and flesh out your requirements for your team and its members, consider the following 10 project management knowledge areas: scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk, procurement and stakeholder management. Then try to identify exactly how your team will manage or respond to each of them. This will help ensure that you have taken a holistic view of the project and have considered all of the factors that could come into play before choosing the criteria that will determine your KPIs.

As part of this exercise, remember that team-based KPIs should attempt to capture least some of the following (as applicable):

  • Project and task dependencies and hand-offs among team members.
  • The level of team member independence and interdependence.
  • Demonstrated leadership abilities.
  • How team members assist one another with varying workloads when applicable.
  • How team members resolve conflict and support one another during difficult times.
  • Absenteeism and its impact on team workload and schedules.
  • The actual standards of work quality in relation to the requisite standards.
  • The level of participation and commitment to project work as evidenced by inputs and outputs.
  • The level of buy-in, attitude and interaction throughout a project.
  • How clearly and effectively team members communicate in various forms.
  • The ability to fulfill project deliverables and keep within the project scope.

Step 3: Determine which KPIs work as accurate measurements 

In the book Performance Indicators (KPI): The 75 Measures Every Manager Needs to Know, Bernard Marr, a leading global authority on organizational performance and business, outlines 12 KPIs specific to measuring employee performance. Here are seven of those KPIs that, while employee-oriented, may be adapted to measure team performance.

Team-based KPIs enable businesses to measure project team performance to ensure that team members are optimally working together to achieve project objectives in ways that can be directly tied back to companywide goals and strategy. Remember, all KPIs must be appropriately identified, reachable and realistically measurable, as well as clearly communicated, documented and agreed upon.


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