Chapter 18

Evaluating Progress and Performance

During project execution, team members work on their assignments and send you information about their progress. The status information you receive includes the progress data for individual assignments or tasks (as described in Chapter 17, “Gathering Progress Information”). To evaluate the health of your project, you need to examine progress data from different perspectives.

So where do you start with this examination? You're likely to get questions such as “Is the project on schedule?” and “Is the project within budget?” so it makes sense to start by comparing your progress to your original plan. If tasks run according to plan, you don't have to take action. However, if tasks don't mirror your baseline dates, hours, and costs, you'll see variances, that is, differences, between your actual schedule and cost data and what you had planned. You can investigate the causes of these variances by digging deeper into the status reports or talking to team members. For example, obstacles could be preventing your team members from completing their work or issues might be reducing their productivity.

Variances alone don't provide the complete picture of your project's health. For example, suppose the hours worked are less than what you had planned. That variance doesn't necessarily mean that your team members are completing work in less time than the baseline estimate. In fact, the most likely answer is that their assignments are behind schedule ...

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