Measuring Progress


True or false? It becomes increasingly important to track progress as the deadline nears to see how close the project will be to finishing on time and on budget.

False! This is a pretty easy question to answer if you’ve read the previous chapters. By the end of the project it doesn’t matter how close you are because you have almost no ability to change your cost and schedule performance. The key to finishing on time and on budget is to start out that way and stay on track throughout the project.

When projects start with challenging schedules, if they fall behind, even by a little, they spend the rest of the project trying to catch up. Other projects, however, seem to have a self-correcting process built into them; if they fall behind a little, the problem is quickly identified and dealt with immediately. The best project managers find problems early and solve them without overtime. They make the project look easy.

Progress measurements are the tools we use to identify problems when they are small—when there is still time to catch up. Since cost and schedule progress comprise two-thirds of the cost-schedule-quality equilibrium, they are the primary focus of progress measurement.


Each work package in the plan is a measurable unit of progress. Each has start and finish dates. The smaller the work packages, the ...

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