To Measure Project Managers, Create a Performance Scorecard

By Jack S. Duggal, MBA, PMP

Coming up with ways to measure project manager performance seems straightforward on the surface, but it is not. The question about what to measure haunts senior managers and PMOs who are serious about improving the performance of their project managers.

Traditionally, project manager measurement has mainly revolved around meeting the triple constraint metrics of time, cost and scope. Other aspects, like stakeholder satisfaction and achievement of strategic objectives, are often not directly measured or attributed to project manager’s performance.

A holistic approach to measure the performance is to create a project manager performance scorecard based on five project manager performance focus areas:

  1. Stakeholder satisfaction — you can survey key project stakeholders — customers, end users, sponsors and team members — regarding their perception of the project manager. The survey can be an objective questionnaire covering different aspects of a project manager’s performance, or it can be an overall rating of the project manager.
  2. Tactical Execution — traditional project execution metrics based on meeting the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Additionally, other metrics based on the nine knowledge areas from the PMBOK® Guide—such as communications, risk, and so on — can be included.
  3. Strategic Outlook — rating the project manager’s understanding of the strategic needs and business reasons for doing the projects, and the project manager’s contribution toward the achievement of business benefits and objectives.
  4. Project Governance — involves measuring the project manager’s degree of compliance to project management methodology and PMO processes; and meeting communications, reporting, financial, stage gates and other project governance requirements. These elements can be measured individually, or the PMO can assign an overall rating.
  5. Learning, Growth and Innovation — includes rating the project manager’s contributions to lessons learned, the best practices library, PMO process improvement and project management community participation. It can also include development and achievement of additional skills or professional certifications.

This feature was inspired by a Community Post suggestion box entry from Luis Diego Argüello, PMP,  a PMO director from Costa Rica with seven years’ experience in project management. He is in the process of defining critical success factors for project managers who report to the PMO. He asks, “What would be a good way to measure the performance of a project manager?”

The above focus areas should be weighted in calculating the overall score for the project manager’s performance. The weighting provides a mechanism to calibrate and balance the focus areas based on current priorities.

It should be noted that the extent and depth of the details of the metrics, and how they are collected and calculated, can vary and will depend on a number of factors, including your project management maturity. It is always good to start simple. Start with a one-page scorecard based on an overall rating scale.

It is also important to develop the scorecard collaboratively, and engage the project managers in its development.

As the saying goes, you get what you measure. You have to be careful with your measurement techniques, and continue to assess and fine-tune your criteria over time.

If you would like a copy of a detailed questionnaire to assess and measure project manager performance, please contact Jack Duggal

Mr. Duggal presented a paper on a related topic, The Pursuit of PMO Value, at PMI® Global Congress 2009—Asia Pacific held this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you attended the congress, you will find it on your CD of the congress proceedings. The paper will also be available at PMI’s Marketplace later in the quarter.

Mr. Duggal is a PMI SeminarsWorld® leader, managing principal of Projectize Group LLC and leader of the seminar Building the Next Generation PMO and Portfolio Management. For questions on the content of the seminar, please contact Mr. Duggal.


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