We all want our projects to be a success but how can you know for sure if you’ve achieved everything you set out to? Why not try these five ways to evaluate your projects. You’ll be able to assess your achievements objectively and quickly.
1. Compare schedule performance
Use the dashboards and reports produced by your project management software to compare what project tasks you actually did and how long they took against your original plans. Hopefully you’ll see that your final project schedule isn’t that much longer than your original forecast, which will tell you that you didn’t overrun and take more time than you anticipated.
However, many projects do take more time than planned. This is often because the project team add more into the project. Remember to look behind the reports to assess the reasons why your project took longer than expected if this happens to you.
2. Compare budget performance
Did you spend more or less money than you expected? Generally we want to spend less but in reality often projects end up spending more! Again, you can use reports and your stored project data to assess how much your project went over budget.
It’s easy to do the comparison with the expense management features of ProjectManager.com. You can quickly see the actual figures and compare them to what you originally planned.
3. Review risks
Looking back over your project risks is another good way to evaluate your project. Did you manage all your risks effectively? If not, what went wrong? Go through your risk log and check that all the risks are now closed or being managed by someone who is not part of the project team.
4. Review estimates
Many projects involve work that hasn’t been done before so it can be difficult to estimate exactly how long those tasks will take. If you have no experience of doing the work previously, then it’s very tricky to work out what’s involved. However, project management standards and methods include several ways to estimate tasks, so you can use tried and tested approaches to assess how long an activity should take.
When you get to the end of the project you can look back and compare these estimates against how long it actually took your team members to do the work. This is a good way to learn from experience: if you ever work on a similar project with similar tasks you can use your evaluation to improve your estimates next time. Equally, you can assess how good your estimating process was by checking whether your estimates were accurate at the end of the project.
5. Get feedback
Finally, don’t forget that your project team members are a great source of feedback about how the project has gone. Spend some time with them and ask what worked and what could have been done better. This can be through a formal post-project review or through informal chats with different stakeholders.
Project evaluation is a really important step in the project management lifecycle and using online project management software to help assess success is a good way of managing this essential process at the end of the project.