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23 Project Metrics

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Project metrics are techniques for measuring a project. They are typically calculated on an ongoing basis to provide management with information that can be used to direct and control projects. Most project metrics indicate if a project is on schedule and budget. Others indicate secondary factors such as risk. The following are common project metrics.

Actual Cost

The total expenditures of a project or activity to date.

Defect Density

The number of defects expressed as a ratio to complexity. For example, defects per thousand lines of code is a common measure of defect density. Used as an indicator of deliverable quality.

Defect Resolution Rate

The percentage of defects that are currently resolved, often reported by defect severity. Used as an indicator of release quality.

Cost Performance Index

The ratio of earned value to actual cost. Measures the percentage of expenditures that have achieved a deliverable.

Cost Variance

The amount that a project is over or under budget at a point in time. Calculated as earned value - actual cost.

Design Stability

The number of change requests that have required design or architecture changes.

Earned Value

Earned value is the budget authorized for work completed. It is used to measure how much you have delivered to date as a financial figure.

Estimate To Complete

Estimate to complete is the cost required to complete the remaining work for a project or activity at a point in time.

Estimated Time To Complete

The estimated time required to complete the remaining work for a project or activity.

Milestone Achievement

The percentage of project milestones that are met successfully.

Payback Period

The amount of time for an investment in a project to break even, often expressed in months.

Percent Complete

An estimate of the currently completed portion of work for activities and the project as a whole.

Project Velocity

The amount of work that a team completes in a sprint often measured in story points. A common agile metric.

Requirements Volatility

The sum of all changes to requirements including new, changed and dropped requirements. Often expressed as a percentage of the original number of requirements. For example, if there are 20 changes and there were 100 original requirements, requirements volatility is (20/100)*100 = 20%.

Resource Utilization

The percentage of available hours for assigned resources that are currently being charged to project activities. A figure over 100% indicates overtime.

Return On Investment

The projected return for a project investment.

Risk Exposure

The total risk the project currently faces after risk treatment. Project risk is typically modeled with risk matrices. It is calculated as the sum of all probabilities × impacts for identified risks.

Risk Management Effectiveness

The percentage of project issues that were identified as risks and managed in advance of the event.

Schedule Performance Index

The ratio of earned value to planned value.

Schedule Variance

The difference between committed dates and actual dates in days.

Scope Changes

The number of change requests that have resulted in a change to scope. An indicator of project stability.

Story Points

The number of story points yet to be completed. Commonly used to measure epics and sprints for agile projects. Typically depicted on a burndown chart that plots outstanding story points versus time.

Variance At Completion

The budget surplus or deficit at completion of a project.

Project Metrics

This is the complete list of articles we have written about project metrics.
Actual Cost
Cost Variance
Defect Density
Payback Period
Productivity Rate
Program Metrics
Project Productivity
Risk Exposure
Time To Market
More ...
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A definition of risk exposure with example calculations.

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