Reporting is an important part of managing your business. We’re all familiar with the financial reports that show the health of your business. We look at sales reports to project growth; marketing reports to measure the effectiveness of advertising spend, and net promoter scores to measure customer satisfaction.
By trying to keep your projects on track, it’s easy to overlook the importance of project reporting beyond percentage completion.
Here are some additional key reports to track regularly to ensure your project succeeds at meeting project management equilibrium.
Budgeted versus Actual Costs
One of the primary constraints on successful project delivery is to stay within specific budget parameters. These costs are typically made up of time (either your internal team members or outside contractors) and materials (costs for raw materials, including digital assets). The labor cost and expenses roll up together to provide your overall project cost, and can be used to measure your project profitability and ROI.
Forecasted versus Actual Hours
How many man-hours did it take to implement that CRM, design the website, or install the MRI machine? The level of effort or hours it took to complete a project is an important metric to track, as it affects not only the project cost but future timelines and resource allocations. Since timeline is a key constraint in project management, ensuring you’re allocating the right amount of time for critical project tasks helps create predictable and accurate delivery schedules.
Forecasted versus Actual Expenses
Similar to tracking the hours that go into the project, you need to record the cost of the materials (including outside labor) used to complete the project. These records help you forecast and bid projects more efficiently in the future, improving your project profitability.
Late Running Tasks
Beyond measuring the total percentage completion of the project, understanding how many tasks are running late is a key performance indicator on the heath of your project. If many tasks are running late, your entire project can be at risk – or even worse, not at all.
How busy is your team? Just because they’re at their desks every day, it can be hard to tell how the work they’re doing is impacting the bottom line. Particularly in a professional service organization, it’s important to measure their utilization and identify the difference between billable and non-billable hours.
Number of Outstanding Risks
Managing risks is a key part of a project manager’s role. Not only do they need to identify those risks, but a good project manager will also work with the team to find a resolution that keeps the project delivering within the agreed to constraints. By measuring the number and impact of outstanding risks, a project manager can tell where they need to invest more energy. They can also track risks over time based on the type of project, giving them insights as to where they can improve their project planning.
Of course, there are hundreds of important additional reports that can be important to your business, depending on your project goals. You can help define these by evaluating your project performance against the project management equilibrium to identify where you can improve measurement and reporting.