Full Sail Partners Blog

How to Define Success with a Project KPI Dashboard

kpi dashboardsAt the core of a project-based firm’s business is the need to monitor the progress of your projects. As Project Manager’s we are busy and we need quick, real-time information to help us steer our projects. Just as a dashboard in a boat identifies and provides feedback regarding the status of our voyage – the speed, the wind angle, the wind force, and the navigational direction – a dashboard can provide the same information about your project.

Specifically, a project KPI dashboard can examine some simple indicators that allow a project manager to gauge which project(s) need more attention.  They should be examined on a regular basis. 

What Project KPIs should I be looking at?

  • Accounts Receivable - Overdue AR can be a warning sign for many problems including:  client dissatisfaction, overall project communication issues, and client insolvency (they can’t pay us if they have no money. . . should we be loaning them more money?).  Make sure your AR is in line with a Summary AR Dashboard Part and one for each individual project.  We recommend examining this Project KPI at least twice every billing cycle.

 Tip to Think About:  What is my outstanding AR?  Not only the amount, but how many days out is it? 

  • Unbilled Labor – A large amount of unbilled labor is a serious risk not only to the project, but to general firm cash flow.  The company cannot get paid for it if it doesn’t get billed.  A Project Manager should monitor this Project KPI closely all the time, but especially after invoicing.  Make sure to avoid carrying large amounts of unbilled labor from billing cycle to billing cycle.

Tip to Think About:  How much labor is sitting on my project that has not been marked as billed?  In other words, have I been billing my project progress correctly?  

  • Estimated to Complete (ETC) and/or Estimate at Completion (EAC) – These schedule based measures will help you determine not only if you are on budget, but if you will finish the project within the overall budget as well.  Compare the EAC to the overall budget and if it is greater, you may decide to either reduce future expenditures or accept the fact that you going to be over budget. 

 Tip to Think About:  How much more do I need to finish this Project?
 When over  budget, confirm that you didn’t forget to send out additional services  contracts. 

  • Summary Key Performance Indicators - Above the project level, the measures are usually about Net Revenue, Utilization and Backlog.  By putting these Project KPIs on your Dashboard, you can improve your performance and make your boss look good too.

Tip to Think About:  What is your Boss being measured on?  How can you manage your   projects better with the use of Project KPIs to improve those Summary Key Performance   Indicators?

There may be other metrics your firm utilizes.  Share with us what you have on your project KPI dashboard.  Also, be sure to check out our past webinar: Get the Work Done.

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