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Project Management KPIs: Unlocking Success in Your Projects

Updated on September 26, 2023By
Project Management KPIs

Project management is all about ensuring that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to stakeholders’ satisfaction. Project management KPIs provide a valuable tool for project managers to track progress, identify risks, and make informed decisions.

Whether you are a seasoned project manager or just starting your career, this blog will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to use project management KPIs to unlock project success.

So, let’s dive in and discover how KPIs can transform the way you manage your projects!

Metrics versus KPIs

Metrics are measurements that provide quantitative data on a particular aspect of a project or business process. They can be used to track performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions. Metrics can be either quantitative or qualitative and can be expressed as a ratio, percentage, or absolute value.

Metrics versus KPIs

Examples of metrics include the number of customers served per day and the time it takes to complete a task or project compared to the number of defects in a product.

On the other hand, KPIs are a specific type of metric directly tied to strategic objectives and critical success factors. KPIs are used to measure progress toward achieving specific goals and objectives, and they are typically expressed as a ratio or percentage.

KPIs are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) metrics that help organizations focus on what really matters.

Examples of KPIs include customer satisfaction, sales revenue, or time-to-market for new products.

While metrics are used to measure performance and progress generally, KPIs are a more focused and strategic subset of metrics used to measure progress toward specific goals and objectives.

Types of project management KPIs

Various types of project management KPIs can be used to measure project performance and progress toward goals. Here are some common types of project management KPIs:

  1. Schedule KPIs: These KPIs measure project schedule performance, such as the planned start and end dates for project activities and milestones and how closely they are being met. Examples of schedule KPIs include project duration, schedule variance, and critical path analysis.
  2. Cost KPIs: These KPIs measure project budget performance, such as the planned budget and actual spending on project activities and resources. Examples of cost KPIs include budget variance, cost per deliverable, and earned value analysis.
  3. Quality KPIs: These KPIs measure project quality performance, such as the degree to which the project deliverables meet the quality standards and requirements. Examples of quality KPIs include defect density, customer satisfaction, and on-time delivery.
  4. Scope KPIs: These KPIs measure project scope performance, such as the degree to which the project deliverables meet the project requirements and objectives. Examples of scope KPIs include scope creep, change request frequency, and requirement coverage.
  5. Resource KPIs: These KPIs measure project resource performance, such as the utilization and productivity of project resources, such as team members, equipment, and materials. Examples of resource KPIs include resource utilization, productivity, and availability.

Project management KPIs can be categorized based on the aspect of project performance they measure, including schedule, cost, quality, scope, and resource management.

By using these KPIs, project managers can identify areas of the project that require attention and make data-driven decisions to ensure project success.

Types of KPIs according to the level of information

KPIs can be categorized into different types based on the level of information they provide. Here are three types of KPIs based on their level of information:

  1. Strategic KPIs: These KPIs are high-level metrics that provide insight into the overall performance of an organization. They are typically used by senior management to measure progress toward long-term strategic goals and objectives. Examples of strategic KPIs include revenue growth, market share, and customer satisfaction.
  2. Tactical KPIs: These KPIs are more focused than strategic KPIs and provide insight into specific areas of the organization. They are typically used by middle management to measure progress toward operational goals and objectives. Examples of tactical KPIs include customer retention, inventory turnover, and employee productivity.
  3. Operational KPIs: These KPIs are highly specific metrics that provide insight into the performance of individual processes or tasks. Front-line employees and supervisors typically use them to monitor day-to-day operations and adjust as needed. Examples of operational KPIs include response time to customer inquiries, defect rate in manufacturing, and order fulfillment time.

12 Project manager KPIs to measure in any project

1. Cost per deliverable

Project Managers need to keep track of the cost associated with each deliverable to compare their estimates to the actual costs. This helps them calculate the cost variance between estimated expenditures and make better decisions when it comes to budgeting for a project.

By closely monitoring the expenses and collaborating with reliable IT service providers like EC-MSP, project managers can optimize their budget allocation and ensure the timely and efficient completion of each deliverable, ultimately leading to a successful project outcome.

2. Resource capacity utilization

Resource utilization is a useful metric for project managers, as it helps them understand how efficiently their team uses resources. Monitoring this metric ensures that project managers are getting the most out of their teams and that they are identifying any inefficiencies as soon as possible.

3. Project cycle time

Project Cycle Time measures how long it takes from when a project is started to when it is completed and plays an important role in determining whether or not a project is successful. By tracking this simple metric, project managers can ensure that projects are completed on time and that projects completed are within budget.

4. Net promoter score

The Net Promoter Score is a key indicator of customer satisfaction, as it gives companies insight into how users feel about their products or services.

Net promoter score

Tracking this metric helps project managers understand if their projects are meeting customer expectations and if there are any areas where improvements can be made.

5. On-Time task completion rate

This metric involves measuring how many tasks were completed on time versus how many were not, helping measure the efficiency of a team’s workflow. Keeping track of this metric allows project managers to identify any bottlenecks in the workflow and correct them as quickly as possible.

6. Schedule performance index

The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) indicates whether or not a project is completing tasks faster than expected or slower than expected. It is calculated by dividing earned value by planned value, which gives the manager an indication of whether or not a particular project is staying within its timeline and budget constraints.

7. FTE days vs. Calendar days

FTE days measure how much time is spent assigning staff to tasks over multiple days rather than in one day only, while calendar days track work across all calendar days regardless of actual hours worked each day.

Tracking these metrics helps managers identify inefficient resource allocation strategies or schedule overruns due to a lack of focus on task completion speed versus total hours worked per day/week/month.

8. Planned hours vs. Time spent

This metric tracks how many hours were planned for each task versus how many hours were actually spent completing those tasks so project managers can plan more effectively for future projects without wasting resources on unnecessary activities like planning meetings or writing reports that could have been done more efficiently online with other tools.

9. Project errors

Project Errors track quality assurance issues that arise during development cycles, such as coding errors, design flaws, or user interface mistakes which could affect the overall user experience negatively if left unchecked early on in the process.

Monitoring this KPI allows for quick corrective measures before launching too late after the website has gone live already, thus saving time and money, especially reputation damage!

10. Time efficiency

Time efficiency measures productivity levels among staff members; monitoring this helps managers know who’s performing well and who needs help achieving better results consistently across all employees involved in given projects allowing for equal opportunities amongst all workers.

11. Planned hours Vs. Actual hours of work

Planned Hours vs. Actual Hours Of Work tracks differences between the estimated time needed for certain tasks against actual time spent – thus providing a clearer vision into efficiency ratings per individual employee involvement level – making sure everyone’s hard work gets noticed.

12. Task submission history

Task Submission History monitors the number of past submissions done correctly according to set requirements; tracking performance here allows managers to easily pinpoint employees taking the initiative and consistent effort to deliver great results deservedly deserving recognition – no matter what type of work!

Task submission history
Task submission history in Nifty

The risks of managing projects without KPIs

Managing a project without KPIs is like driving with a blindfold on. And why is that so?

#1 Lack of clarity

Without clear visibility into the project’s performance, project managers can miss important signals and trends, leading to suboptimal outcomes. Project managers need clear visibility into project performance to make informed decisions and adjust course when necessary.

That’s where KPIs come in. And without them, project managers may not clearly understand the project team’s progress and performance, leading to confusion and uncertainty.

#2 Ineffective decision-making

Project managers are responsible for making critical decisions that can impact the success of a project. However, making informed decisions is impossible without access to accurate and timely data.

When project managers lack the data-driven insights KPIs provide, they may have to rely on assumptions or incomplete information. And that’s a recipe for disaster.

#3 Missed deadlines

With zero tracking progress against set timelines, project managers may miss deadlines, leading to project delays and potentially causing budget overruns. If they fail on a single deadline, it can have a domino effect, resulting in further delays, canceled projects, and missed opportunities.

Project managers,
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#4 Poor resource management

If project managers are unable to track resource utilization through established KPIs, the result could lead to mismanaging resources and creating preventable expenses. This can bring inefficiencies that should have been avoided with an effective action plan.

#5 Inadequate risk management

The last thing you want in your project is a surprise. With limited visibility, you may be blindsided by risks and unable to make the necessary changes in time to prevent them from becoming serious problems. While it might be uncomfortable to anticipate risks, having KPIs in place can help you stay ahead of the curve.

#6 Limited stakeholder engagement

No KPIs = no problem? 

Well, without KPIs to track stakeholder engagement and satisfaction, project managers may not have a clear understanding of stakeholder needs and expectations. It goes without saying that it might lead to poor stakeholder relationships and potential project failure.

Too many cooks spoil the broth

Starting with and working on KPIs doesn’t just let the project manager know how the team performs. It also helps with managing expectations and communication between the project timeline and the team members.

When too many people are involved in a task, collaboration can become chaotic and lead to delays or confusion, wasting time and resources.

And another thing that can be a “one too many” here is picking the actual KPIs. If you have never worked with them, but now you want to start tracking 18 new metrics at once, it might be too much for the team to handle. So remember: start small and then expand according to your needs.

Over to you

Project management is like a science, and you need to choose the right tools for it. The KPIs we discussed can give you deeper insights into your team’s progress and help you keep them on track with the project goals. Use these wisely, and they will greatly benefit you and your entire team!

Sign up for Nifty for free to start monitoring some of these key KPIs right away.


What are some of the best practices for tracking KPIs in project management?

Establishing clear and measurable goals and objectives that stakeholders agree upon, utilizing a framework to tie project goals and objectives to specific KPIs, selecting only the essential indicators necessary for measuring performance, and tracking KPIs with data visualization tools or software to monitor metrics over time are all best practices for tracking KPIs in project management.

Can KPIs help project managers identify potential risks before they occur?

Yes, tracking KPIs can help project managers anticipate potential problems before they become larger issues by monitoring progress regularly. This helps identify any trends or areas of opportunity that could impact the project’s success.

How can KPIs help project managers make data-driven decisions?

Data-driven decision-making is essential for successful project management as it allows organizations to make informed decisions based on actual facts instead of guesswork. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) provides insight into the effectiveness of the projects and program strategy, which helps prioritize resources accordingly.

Are there any tools or software programs that can help project managers track KPIs more effectively?

Yes, various tools available today can assist with tracking and organizing data related to KPIs so team members have visibility into all aspects of a given project’s key performance indicator. Popular options include Nifty – which offers varying levels of complexity depending on an organization’s needs.

How frequently should project managers review KPIs to ensure they are on track to achieve desired outcomes?

It is recommended that project managers review their KPIs at least once per month though this timeline may vary depending on the complexity and importance of the organization’s operations. Doing so allows for timely adjustments if needed while keeping teams current with progress towards desired outcomes.

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