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Measure success with BI and KPIs

Lee, MorganDoes your company measure project success primarily based on projects being delivered on time or on budget? There are other ways to track and measure success that a lot of companies may not consider; Business Intelligence (BI), and Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

1. Did you deliver all of the features that the client asked (or paid) for?
2. What was the quality of the product that you delivered?
3. Can you track your team’s performance to help improve on the next phase or project?

Often features are removed to meet project time lines and budgets. If a project was completed on time and on budget it does not mean that the highest quality was delivered. With the help of BI and KPIs, we can track and measure performance and help deliver higher quality, on time, and on budget (at least that is the plan).

BI is a process that can help a Business Analyst, Manager, or other stakeholders use the information collected to track business trends, create dashboard reports and create a strategic plan for a new project or altering an existing project. BI can help people see the big picture. Most daily activities can be measured or quantified in some way. KPIs are predefined goals that help determine if you have completed a milestone, if the part you built was completed on time, if the actual cost to build a product matches the estimated cost, if all test scenarios were completed and passed, or one of many other bits of information that is relevant to your project.

1. You can start using BI and KPIs by first defining the business plan and identifying clear objectives.
(e.g., during Phase 1 the development team will deliver 7 requirements worth 22 value points; it will take two weeks to complete. Dave will create requirements #1, 2, 4, and 7. Paul will create requirements #3, 5 and 6. )

2. Identify KPIs to help determine your progress. Make sure you pick KPIs that you can measure. Identify risks and issues and monitor them to see if they appear.
(e.g., requirement #3 is estimated to take Paul 4 days build and must be completed before Dave can start work on requirement #4.)

3. Measure your team’s performance and compare it to the project plan, burndown chart, or whatever tool you are using to track project information.
(e.g., requirement #3 was estimated to take 4 days to complete. Looking at a daily report, the BA tell that on day 3 of this phase it will take Paul 5 days to complete the development for requirement #3. Based on our project plan we will be one day behind schedule if nothing changes.)

4. Adjust your project plan and strategy (when required). Use KPIs to see if you are meeting your targets. You can choose to do nothing or adjust schedules and workloads or add and remove resources to meet time sensitive activities.
(e.g., Dave is scheduled to work on requirement #4 after requirement #3 has been completed. If Dave works with Paul on requirement #3, they can meet the scheduled 4 day target and Dave will not have to wait an extra day for Paul to complete requirement #3. Because of this change, the BA recommended to move requirement #7 to phase 2.)

5. At defined points in the project the team should review what worked well and what didn’t. Identify lessons learned and apply those lessons to future phases and project. Creating BI reports are a great way to compare progress over the project life-cycle.
(e.g., during Phase 1 the development team delivered 6 requirements worth 20 value points. Requirement #7 worth 2 value points will be included in phase 2. Based on this information we will plan to deliver another 20 value points worth of requirements for phase 2. )

BI with KPIs helps plan project activities and refine project estimates. The more project metrics collected and analyzed, the more it can help the businesses move away from the best guest estimates and towards an evidence-driven approach to project planning. Collecting information is useless unless you analyze, identify patterns for improvement, and implement those improvements.

Posted in 5 Things, Article, Business Analyst.

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