Ultimately, program managers are judged on results. Creating a positive program culture that facilitates excellent project management should produce excellent results. Having the correct program manager attributes, knowing how to manage stakeholders, implementing the most eﬀective program process strategy, deploying good execution processes, building strong program teams, planning well-organized program communication processes, performing change management, ensuring thorough risk management, and linking the program to organizational strategy are pathways to program clarity and success.
This 5 part Guide to Positive Program Outcomes helps you assess the success of your programs.
Part 1 of 5: Creating Positive Customer Satisfaction
Part 2 of 5: Institutionalize Plagiarism
Part 3 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Metrics
Part 4 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Judgment
Part 5 of 5: Closing Thoughts
Part 4 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Judgment
Can you really measure a project manager’s performance objectively with standardized measures? To a degree you can, but to measure without human judgment, to solely (or mostly) depend on a number or numbers is counterproductive. Judgment is required because of the diversity of projects. Projects vary by size, stakeholder dynamics, requirements stability, technology readiness level, and sponsorship. Project managers are charged with delivering, given all this diversity, but the bottom line is that some projects are much easier to implement than others.
I am suggesting that you give a lot of care and forethought to what you measure, examine the results, and ask what story those results tell. Those measures are an input to the judgment process. Contextual understanding of data and numbers is especially important in evaluating the performance of project managers even if you are just using cost and schedule. Here are some of the most important measures to use:
- 1. Satisﬁed with overall quality of project. (The solution addressed the problem.)
- 2. Reported clear, detailed, and properly identiﬁed status of the project.
- 3. Communications were timely, relevant, accurate, and collaborative.
- 4. Understood role, escalation path, and eﬀective project structure.
- 5. Project scope, objectives, and requirements were met.
- 6. Requirements captured were relevant, provided adequate interaction, and followed proper approval process.
- 7. Changes to scope, requirements, and issues were eﬀectively identiﬁed, tracked, and resolved.
- 8. Project risks and dependencies were eﬀectively identiﬁed, quantiﬁed, tracked, and mitigated.
- 9. Project schedule was visible and communicated.
Each of the metrics are addressed by asking the survey respondents (customers and stakeholders) whether they agree, disagree, or don’t know. If you think more ﬁdelity is necessary, you can add options for strongly disagree and strongly agree. If you desire more information, consider opting for open-ended questions as a follow-up.
Not only are the data collected by project and project manager, the results can be compared to a baseline for all projects, projects of a given year, and projects of a certain type. Therefore, for each of these metrics, there is a variance against the baseline for all projects or a chosen baseline.
You should not wait until the end of a project to perform these kinds of assessments, especially for critical projects, new project managers, or new customers. If you have a seasoned project manager with a longtime customer, you may choose not to assess until the end of the project. If there is a new customer with a technology you have never dealt with, you may assess at every milestone. Some people automatically say you should assess at every milestone. There is logic behind this. However, my belief is that the role of the program manager is to eliminate any paperwork or bureaucracy that doesn’t add value—no matter how trivial. We are so busy today and the marketplace requires so high a level of execution from a speed point of view that these little things must be eliminated because they can add up quickly.
Additionally, always establish goals and do not be afraid to evaluate and change metrics as the process matures. Use metrics as a tool to gain control of stakeholders and customers when possible.
Invest some time and think strategically about metrics, what problems they can expose, and how they can exert pressure to drive the organization in a positive direction. Begin with the end in mind. Think about the decisions a metric will allow you to make. Only then will you develop good and usable metrics.
Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.
“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.