As a project manager, you are required to be effective, efficient and meet expectations on every project you deliver. Unfortunately, there is no single way of measuring effectiveness that applies universally to every project and every company. The outcome of a project can be evaluated in hindsight after it is completed, but even then there is a variance of what ‘effective’ might mean from one project to the next. It can be difficult, therefore, to record the effectiveness of your project both as it is being completed, and after it has been delivered. That being said, there are some tips for understanding how effective your project is.

Mastering an effective methodology

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Gaining professional accreditation in project management is perhaps the easiest way to understand how to record a project’s effectiveness. A defined, process-based approach to project management makes monitoring and recording the effectiveness of a project a built-in part of the project itself. The de-facto project management standard in the UK is the PRINCE2 methodology – it focuses on what a project is to deliver (the why, when and for whom), provides a consistent approach that can be tailored to each individual project and regularly reviews progress as the project is completed. Simetral is a professional accredited training organisation that provides project management training in London.

Understanding what ‘success’ looks like

In order to monitor how effective a project is, or has been, it is first essential to define what an effective project would be; to ask ‘what would success look like for this project?’ Often a team will start a project without any criteria for success, or with the wrong criteria in mind, so this process starts before the project even begins. In an article for, Tony Wong defines six criteria for measuring success:

  1. Schedule – is there a hard deadline? Was the project completed by the time it was due? Even if there isn’t a hard deadline, drawing up and sticking to a schedule helps you to monitor your project’s effectiveness.
  2. Scope – what do you need to get done?
  3. Budget – Once a budget has been set, or a quote given, the project should stick to it or come under. It is hard to argue that a project that came in over budget is an effective one.
  4. Team satisfaction – try to monitor the happiness of the team. Poor morale can ultimately end up leading to poor results further down the line.
  5. Customer satisfaction – seek constant feedback from a client while you work on the project, not just after it is complete.
  6. Quality of work – if you deliver strong work, the client will recommend you to others, which will lead to more work. A successful, high-quality project can be used as a benchmark to measure your future projects against.

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Performance in the face of adversity

A 2012 Project Management Institute paper on measuring success brought together the input of experienced project managers from around the world. As well as identifying the six factors outlined above, one condition that was also touched upon was the ability to adapt. In other words, when measuring a project against the difficulties it faced, how did it succeed against its criteria for success?