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The Fairest Metric of All

Author : Kevin Korterud

From the Voices on Project Management Blog

We often rely on a number of different metrics to help create insights into our true project progress. These can range from discrete indicators, such as schedule performance index, to more subjective measures, such as forecasting completion dates based on prior experience on similar projects. 

I am asked on regular basis which project progress metrics is my favorite. In other words: If I were marooned on an island with a project status report with only one project metric, which one would I pick?  
 
After careful consideration (and I hope I have more supplies than just a status report when marooned on an island!), I would likely select the estimate to complete (ETC) metric. Here's why:
 
1. Task ETC tells me much more. Primarily, ETC serves as a simple measure of remaining effort for a task. However, ETC at the task level can shed light on other areas that provide visibility to project progress. To arrive at a task-level ETC, a project team member must take into consideration not only the remaining effort, but other factors such as resource capabilities, resource availability, dependencies and lead times for any task reviews. The rigor required to arrive at a task-level ETC compels team members to think through many variables that influence remaining effort. As you can see, this exercise tells us a lot more than just a number. 
 

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