The company I am working in currently is a projectized organization. The work we are handling is basically managing multiple projects in order to develop and build an operating refinery. This involves a continuous form of meetings and reporting to various stake holder (whether it was a shareholder or contractor) that sometimes require quick decision making. This calls to use a tool such as dashboard performance reporting where it is an easy to read information management tool that illustrates visually KPIs, metrics, and other key data points relevant to a business, department, or specific process. Currently the most common visual illustration report is an S Curve reports which is a representation of the projects performance in terms of schedule and cost i.e (SPI and CPI). These reports often lead to further questions that require further explanation that these graphs do not fully cover. This leads to the topic of this blog; can we have a more comprehensive dashboard that could illustrate key aspects of the project in a simple graphical manner that give status summary in brief and trigger early warning alert that would allow for prompt action and decision making.
Development of Feasible Alternatives
There are various types of dashboards that are being used in the industry; for the purpose of this blog we are going to explore the following feasible alternatives
- Using SPI vs CPI chart (Earned Value chart)
- Using Radar Chart
Evaluation of Alternatives
Option 1: SPI vs CPI chart (Earned Value chart)
It is a tool that measures the performance of the project in an objective manner. It covers mainly the following aspects schedule and cost. The following figures demonstrate an example of the SPI vs CPI chart (Earned Value chart):
Figure 1 illustrates a typical Earned Value curve (a form of an S curve chart) measuring performance of the organization mainly in terms of cost and schedule. If the concept of EVM is properly understood the above graph could be utilized as a powerful tool to manage projects and identify the projects that require more attention. However, if this concept is not properly comprehended by the audience, then it could be easily rejected and dismissed.
The following figure illustrates an explanation of the status of the projects according to their allocation on the EVM graph.
Figure 3: Example SPI vs CPI Chart
Figure 3 shows an example of SPI vs CPI chart illustrating the status of 3 different projects. According to figure 2 the above chart could be analyzed as following:
Project C: ahead of schedule but over budget (an indication that requires the managers’ attention)
Project A & B are both behind schedule and over budget, however project A requires more attention as it is far behind in cost and schedule
The above option gives a clear picture on the performance of the projects according to cost and schedule. What if cost and schedule are not the only governing aspects of the success of the project performance? What if there are other dimensions that require managing and the attention of the project team and management and are as important as cost and schedule?
Option 2: The radar chart
It is a tool that visually shows in one graphic illustration the performance of a number of organizational or projects areas as opposed to ideal performance areas
Figure 4. illustrates the performance of 3 different projects in 6 dimensions are as following:
- SPI (schedule)
- CPI (cost)
- Quality Index
- Project Documentation
- Process Compliance
- Safety Index
Figure 4: Radar chart of project performance
From the above figure the following analysis could be formed:
|Projects/ Categories||SPI||CPI||Quality Index||Project Documentation||Process Compliance||Safety Index|
Clearly the worst performing project is Project A as the gap between its actual performance in most of the categories and the ideal performance are higher than the other projects.
Project C is in illustrates it is behind schedule but its overall performance in the other categories are better than average.
Project B illustrates that it is within +/- 10% of SPI; however requires improvement required project documentation
Selection Criteria and Selection of Preferred Alternative
Based on the above analysis the preferred selection would be the Radar Charts. It clearly displays various categories of performance as well as allowing the chart analyzer to concentrate on the strengths and weakness of each project in each category.
Performance Monitoring and Post Evaluation of Results
In terms of visual report representation radar charts provides more information compared to basic SPI vs CPI charts. With radar charts projects could be analyzed in many different categories depending on the projects and management requirements. In the dashboard, it will be useful to show total % completion of scope. Therefore, allowing the analyzer to understand the status of the current project phase.
- Brassard M, Ritter D, (2010). Memory Jogger 2. 2nd ed. USA: GOAL/QPC
- Kumar, H (June, 2012). W19_Hari_Performance Dashboard retrieved on September 15, 2014 from http://aacecasablanca.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/w19_hari_performance-dashboard/
- Inflexionpointconsulting(Jaunuray 2013), WHY DO PROGRAMMES FAIL?, Retrieved on the September 15, 2014 from https://inflexionpointconsulting.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/why-do-programmes-fail/comment-page-1/