PMI Credential Passport March 2011

Expert Advice From Around The World

We asked four PMI credential holders from around the world: "What project portfolio key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to evaluate your projects today?" Here is what they had to say.

Martin Madiba EbongueEurope, Middle East, Africa

Martin Madiba Ebongue, PMP, senior consultant in project management and strategy
Petros Group
Douala, Cameroon

Over the last decade, most clients have gradually developed interest in non-financial performance aspects, including concerns on the environment, human factor, quality and business ethics. This tendency has gone a long way to create a major new KPI: sustainability.

Sound sustainability enhances and contributes to project portfolio success in the following manner:

  • Decision-making factor—Clients today greatly consider socio-environmental trends in their investment analysis and business decision-making process.
  • Credibility factor—Globally clients, end-users and suppliers have developed interest in rating how green their partners are in order to appreciate their credibility.
  • Ethical requirement—Most business sectors today have developed ethical concerns that are formalized and instituted. Conformity involves strictly abiding to the concerns by maintaining sustainability.

Sustainability as a KPI is also an excellent tool to identify and handle project and strategic risks, optimize in waste management and rationalize the consumption of resources. In fact, good sustainability practices can significantly reduce costs both for the portfolio and for the entire corporation.

Jerzy FilatowAsia Pacific

Jerzy Filatow, PMP, senior project manager, service and infrastructure management
Melbourne, Australia

During the implementation of a technology product for a major bank, I was asked to gather metrics and feedback that would illustrate customer satisfaction with the end product.

This was one of the first times I had been asked to measure something based on customers' feelings and experiences as opposed to a hard mathematic metric.

Through a series of workshops before, during and after the implementation of the product, we looked at customers' motivation and drivers, and what they found important to their experiences with the product. This allowed us to manage expectations through open communication. It allowed us to capture key information for the functional and non-functional requirements throughout the project life cycle.

A final customer survey captured consolidated information relevant to the project closing.

Max DufourNorth America

Max Dufour, PMP, principal
SunGard Global Services
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Most clients put a premium on predictable costs at the program level. They want to see a rolling estimated cost for any planned or unplanned upcoming tasks required to complete an activity.

As a portfolio KPI, it can be called “cost to complete” or “upcoming charges.”

Success is demonstrated when, at the end of a period—usually a month—all forecasted charges reconcile with actual charges.

The first step in estimating upcoming work is to look back at the history of delivering similar work in the past while taking into consideration the learning curve and how knowledgeable the resources assigned are. It is the project manager's responsibility to then look at optimizing estimates by packaging the activities in meaningful ways so rework is avoided and anything that can be templated as an asset is leveraged.

In terms of tactics, one way to refine estimates is to ask “what if” to assess the likelihood of any scenarios that could derail the estimates. It also is critical to have checkpoints to review estimates in case conditions change or to determine if the project progresses as planned.

Pablo A. LulinskiLatin America

Pablo A. Lulinski, PMP, project/portfolio manager
Global telecommunications provider
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The main portfolio success indicator is the percentage of implemented projects per portfolio—that is, how many projects were originally included and how many projects were finally deployed into production. Also, actual vs. estimated amounts are measured, both at project and portfolio levels.

In general, we focus on achieving overall portfolio success by analyzing the status of each individual project. Our main goal is to complete the entire portfolio—or release in IT terms—within the scope and budget constraints, as each one has its own fixed date.

Overall portfolio risk is also measured, taking into account the number of passed and failed test cases per project. Risk is controlled by adding or removing projects, giving portfolio managers a clear picture of portfolio health.

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