Three Numbers to Measure Project Performance

[article]
Summary:
The authors present a method which produces at any time during the execution of a big software development project a reliable prediction of the total duration and of the total cost to expect at project completion. The basic idea presented is to correlate cumulative cost consumed to current completion reached and to learn from this about the future of the project.

The authors present a method which produces at any time during the execution of a big software development project a reliable prediction of the total duration and of the total cost to expect at project completion.

Based on this, appropriate steering measures can be taken: from recognition of success over recovery actions up to project cancellation. Having a powerful Project Performance Measuring in place, potential occurrence of schedule overrun and cost overrun in software projects can be managed and controlled. Although particular cost tracking and several progress metrics may be applied during the execution of projects, reliable knowledge of the total duration and the total cost tends to be not available.

The basic idea presented in our paper is to correlate cumulative cost consumed to current completion reached, and to learn out of this about the future of the project. Prerequisites are a cost consumption plan and a deliverables completion plan. The approach is presented both theoretically and on hand of a real life case. Special attention is paid to project management techniques related to the method.

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About the Author

Dr. Thomas Liedtke is an experienced project quality manager of several large telecommunication projects at Alcatel Telecom and a member and work group leader of several SPI activities. Since 1997, he has been the technical project manager of several large telecommunication projects (fixed and mobile) at Alcatel for German market and export markets.

Peter Paetzold has been with Alcatel since 1990 in different positions in Berlin, Paris and Stuttgart. Previously, he was the technical project manager of a big development project and a manager operative project control.

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