Posted by: kerrywills | May 9, 2014


I like numbers..I really like numbers. In our profession, they can provide tremendous insight into how our projects and programs are tracking. But numbers can be tricky (hence my creative title for this posting) so we need to be careful when using or interpreting them. Here are a few ‘tricks’ that I have come across regarding metrics.

% Complete without Total

Showing percent complete without a total could be misleading. Take the example where one project is at 75% complete with their activities and the other is at 50% complete. Without knowing the total, I would be inclined to focus on the 50% one. What if the scenario was one where the first project had 75 out of 100 items done and the second was only 1 out of 2. Therefore the first project actually has 25 outstanding activities as opposed to just one for the second project.

% Complete without Plan

I get status reports all of the time that show percent complete. Lets say a project reports being 50% done. I can’t tell if this is good or not unless it is compared to something. If the plan was supposed to be 50% done then we are on track, but if the plan was supposed to be 75% done then the team is behind.

% Complete Stagnant

This is a hard trick to spot but often times deliverables will be at the same % complete for several weeks in a row, which may indicate a blockage of something. Don’t let these linger too long.



Watch for the tricks


So the main point is to seek to understand the context of the metrics and not just take them at face value..or you could fall for the trick.

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