Like parents monitoring their kids’ whereabouts to keep them out of trouble, project managers monitor performance metrics to make sure their projects stay on track.
With the wealth of data available today, however, trying to keep up with all of it can sometimes feel like drinking from a firehose. If you want your data to yield beneficial insights, it’s important to hone in on the KPIs and operational metrics that impact project and agency performance the most.
To help you get started, let’s take a look at some of the most important metrics to track when it comes to boosting team productivity and keeping your projects on the rails.
Boosting team productivity: The power of operational metrics
Understanding operational metrics
W. Edwards Deming once said, “Without data, you're just another person with an opinion.” When it comes to operational efficiency and team productivity, truer words have never been spoken.
In the context of project management, operational metrics are business metrics that shed light on the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness of a project’s operational aspects. Operational metrics help you evaluate the real-time, day-to-day activities that contribute to a project’s overall goals and objectives. These metrics, therefore, are especially useful when it comes to evaluating (and ultimately improving) team performance.
When you track operational metrics and compare them against benchmarks, you can identify the areas of your business operations that have the most room for improvement. This allows you to take a focused, data-driven approach to optimizing your team’s productivity and ensuring the success of your projects.
Key operational metrics to improve team performance
Determining which key performance indicators actually have the biggest impact on team and project performance is the first step to making the most of your agency’s data.
While the operational KPIs that are most important to track will vary from one agency to another, let’s explore a few key metrics that tend to be especially useful for improving team performance.
1. Efficiency metrics
On average, 11.4% of a company’s investment in a project is wasted due to poor project performance. If you want to reduce this waste (and what agency wouldn't?), improving the efficiency of your operations is a great place to start.
Improving efficiency metrics allows you to get as much mileage as possible out of the resources and project timeline you have available. As such, efficiency metrics are something that every agency should track and try to improve.
Examples of efficiency metrics
Resource utilization rate: This metric assesses how effectively your agency uses project resources, such as manpower and equipment. A high resource utilization indicates that your team is using its resources efficiently.
Task duration: This metric measures the average time it takes to complete individual project tasks. Reducing task duration can lead to quicker project completion.
Cost efficiency: This metric compares the budgeted cost of a project to actual operating expenses, helping identify those wonderful cost-saving opportunities.
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How to measure efficiency metrics
Measuring efficiency metrics starts with effective data collection. To gauge the efficiency of your projects and project teams, you’ll need to keep tabs on data regarding resource utilization, task duration, and cost management.
Project management platforms like Teamwork.com can make collecting and tracking this data a whole lot easier, providing real-time insights into resource allocation and task progress.
2. Quality metrics
Improved efficiency is only beneficial when it doesn’t come at the cost of quality. If you are producing unsatisfactory deliverables for your project stakeholders, they probably aren’t going to be all that impressed that you produced them efficiently.
Tracking quality metrics helps you ensure that your project workflows are actually producing desirable results. They allow you to keep a watchful eye on the quality of your project deliverable throughout the project’s lifecycle and are therefore some of the most important metrics for project managers to track.
Examples of quality metrics
Defect density: This metric measures the average rate of defects or errors found in deliverables. You can calculate it by dividing the total number of defects/errors during a specific period of time by the total number of deliverables completed in that time.
Customer satisfaction score: This metric is based on data collected from stakeholder/end-user feedback and is used to measure their average satisfaction with the project’s deliverables.
Error recurrence rate: This metric tells you the number of times a specific error or issue resurfaces after being resolved and is useful for identifying recurring problems that are impacting project quality.
How to measure quality metrics
Regular reviews and inspections of deliverables is the best way to gather the data needed for measuring quality metrics. Using survey templates to collect stakeholder feedback is another method that can produce some helpful quality metrics.
3. Effectiveness metrics
Your project might be efficient, and the deliverables might be of the utmost quality, but is the project actually meeting its goals? If a project is not ultimately helping boost your agency’s net profit and driving progress toward larger business goals, you can’t really call that project a success.
Tracking effectiveness metrics helps you ensure that your projects are actually delivering the big-picture results they are intended to produce. In other words, these metrics help you align project performance with overall business performance to maximize the positive impact your projects have on larger agency goals.
Examples of effectiveness metrics
Goal attainment: After defining clear and measurable project goals, you can measure the number of completed goals against the total number of goals set to calculate your goal attainment percentage.
Impact on agency objectives: This metric involves aligning project objectives with broader organizational objectives, then evaluating the project’s contribution to achieving those objectives.
Customer retention rate: For customer-focused projects, you can calculate the percentage of customers retained after the project's completion to measure the project’s impact on this vital business metric.
How to measure effectiveness metrics
Measuring effectiveness metrics starts with setting measurable project goals that align with the overall goals of your agency. Regular reviews and progress assessments can help project managers track project performance and ensure that it remains on track to meet its desired outcomes.
4. Growth metrics
Like putting notches in the wall to measure how tall you’re growing, growth metrics are focused on the improvement and development of project teams. These metrics ultimately tell you how effective all of your efforts to boost team performance have been.
Nurturing the growth of your team members is an investment that almost always pays dividends. To measure just how much of a return you actually get on that investment though, you will want to track growth metrics.
Examples of growth metrics
Training and development participation: This metric tracks the number of team members participating in training programs and professional development opportunities.
Employee satisfaction index: Conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys and calculating the average score can tell you how satisfied your team members are with their job and work environment.
Promotion rate: This metric measures the rate at which team members are promoted within the agency based on their performance.
How to measure growth metrics
Collecting and analyzing employee feedback is one of the most effective ways to gather the data needed for growth metrics. Tracking metrics like training and development participation and promotion rates will also help you evaluate how your team members are improving their skills and performance.
Strategies for implementing operational metrics in your team
Operational metrics are like buckets of paint — if you know what you’re doing, you can use them to create wonderful works of art. But if you don’t know how to properly implement them, you’ll probably just end up with a big mess!
With that said, here are five strategies that you can use to turn operational metrics into boosted operational performance:
Identify relevant metrics and understand your team’s role
Not every metric that can be tracked must be tracked. To avoid data overload, it’s usually necessary to hone in on the operational metrics that are most relevant and impactful to the success of your project and agency.
What these metrics are will naturally differ from one agency to another, so it’s important to uncover the metrics that are most key to your agency and identify your team’s role in boosting those KPIs.
Set measurable goals
Did you know that employees who are given goals are 14.2 times more likely to be inspired at work? Setting clear and measurable goals is a highly effective way to boost team performance, since everyone works harder when they are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Given that many operational KPIs are based on project goals and your progress toward them, setting measurable goals is important for tracking operational metrics as well.
Integrate metrics into daily operations and tasks
If you want your team to focus on improving operational metrics, you need to actually make those metrics a part of daily work. By tracking operational metrics in real-time and integrating those metrics into daily operations and tasks, you can make important project metrics a top priority for your team members.
Provide necessary training to your team members on the use of any tools or systems for metric tracking
Tracking operational metrics is usually more than a one-person job. When you let the rest of your project team get in on the fun, you can divide and conquer the task — while also keeping your team keyed in on the KPIs you want them to improve.
Of course, having your team assist with tracking operational metrics requires you to train them on how to use the project management tools and platforms required for metric tracking. With a user-friendly platform such as Teamwork.com, however, this thankfully isn’t too tall of a task!
Review the relevance and effectiveness of the metrics regularly
The most impactful metrics for your agency to track is something that can change over time as your agency and its projects evolve. This means that you’ll want to regularly review the operational metrics that you track to make sure they remain fresh, relevant, and impactful.
Project management done right with Teamwork.com
With Teamwork.com, tracking operational metrics and evaluating the performance of your project teams is easy. Thanks to Teamwork.com’s user-friendly dashboards and advanced reporting features, all of the data you need to optimize the efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of your projects is delivered to you on a silver platter.
Unlocking the power of operational metrics is one of the most effective ways for project managers to boost team performance. Sign up for Teamwork.com today to get started putting your project data to work for you!