What are Important Project Management KPI Metrics

What are Important Project Management KPI Metrics-feature image
March 5, 2024 13 Min read

In today’s dynamic business landscape, effective project management is essential for achieving organizational goals. Understanding and making use of key performance indicators (KPIs) is integral to project success.

From measuring progress to identifying areas for improvement, KPI indicators play an important role. This article talks about the significance of important project management KPI metrics, providing insights that can enhance project performance and drive overall success.

In simple terms, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for project management are quantifiable metrics used to assess multiple aspects of a project’s performance and progress. They help in measuring achievement and include metrics related to schedule adherence, budget management, quality, stakeholder satisfaction, risk management, resource utilization, and more.

Common project management KPIs include Schedule Variance, Cost Performance Index, Customer Satisfaction Score, and Resource Utilization, among others. KPIs in a project helps project managers and stakeholders measure the success and efficiency of the project, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions throughout the project lifecycle.

What are Project Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators in project management. This refers to specific metrics used to gauge or measure the effectiveness of a team’s performance in achieving set objectives.

These KPIs are typically defined in the early stages of a project and align with the organization’s overall project vision, fostering cross-departmental teamwork.

While each team has its own set of responsibilities, they all contribute individually to the KPIs. Understanding the role of KPIs in project management can facilitate the development of team synergy and provide a framework to monitor the overall success of corporate projects.

KPIs generally fall into four categories:

  • Timeliness: This assesses whether the project is being completed within the planned timeframe. If not, it is crucial to track where it has deviated from the schedule and work towards establishing a new projected completion date.
  • Budget: This category focuses on monitoring whether the project is staying within the allocated budget, exceeding it, or matching it as per the pre-defined budgetary constraints.
  • Quality: Here, the evaluation focuses on whether the project is progressing as anticipated, maintaining high standards of quality, and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders and teams involved.
  • Effectiveness: This category involves assessing whether the project is being managed efficiently by ensuring that both time and financial resources are utilized effectively.

By understanding and effectively utilizing these KPIs, project management teams can streamline their approach and ensure successful project delivery.

How To Create & Use Project KPIs Productively?

Creating and using project management KPI productively involves a systematic approach to ensure they align with the project objectives and are effectively utilized throughout the project lifecycle. Here are the steps to create and use project KPIs productively:

  • Clearly define your KPIs: Ensure your KPIs are S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. For instance, a local government’s strategic objective to provide a variety of quality housing options could be measured by increasing the number of affordable housing units, with a goal of rehabilitating 1,000 existing structures annually to meet public needs.
  • Select your measures purposefully: Many organizations track several measures without considering their relevance to pre-defined objectives. It is crucial to focus on a few key measures that directly align with your goals. If a particular KPI cannot be justified as important, it should be reconsidered to avoid unnecessary reporting efforts and information overload.
  • Always set a clear target for your KPIs: Assigning a target to each KPI provides a basis for measurement and evaluation. Historical data or industry research can be used to make informed decisions regarding setting targets, even for new initiatives.
  • Recognize when to discard a KPI: If a KPI is not influencing decision-making or contributing to organizational strategy, it may not be worth the effort to track. It’s essential to periodically assess the value provided by each KPI and adjust as necessary to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.

By following these steps, project managers and stakeholders can create and effectively use project KPIs to drive productivity, measure success, and achieve project objectives.

15 Important Project Management KPI Metrics for Managers to Consider

  • Planned Value
  • Actual Cost
  • Earned Value
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Cost Variance
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI)
  • Cost of Managing Processes
  • Planned Hours of Work vs Actual Situation
  • Overdue Project Tasks/ Crossed Deadlines
  • Schedule Variance
  • Missed Milestones
  • Schedule Performance Index
  • Percentage of Tasks Completed
  • Resource Utilization
  • Percentage of Projects Completed on Time

Here are some of the best project management KPI metrics or project performance indicators that help project managers in KPI monitoring and taking key learning from projects. These include:

1. Planned Value: The Planned Value (PV) project KPI, or the Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS), represents the estimated cost of scheduled project activities at the reporting date. By comparing the Planned Value with other project KPIs, you can analyze if the project is ahead of schedule or if the budget has been surpassed.

PV can be derived using formulas based on scheduled project hours and budget completion percentage. For instance, in a one-year project with a planned budget of 10,000 USD, the Planned Value after 9 months, if on schedule, would be 2500 USD (25% of the total budget). Any actual costs exceeding this amount indicate a higher Actual Cost than Planned Value.

2. Actual Cost: The Actual Cost (AC) project KPI, also known as the Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP), signifies the total expenditure on the project up to the present date. There is no specific formula for calculating actual costs; rather, it involves summing up all project-related expenses incurred. The project budget is based on planned hours, so the time spent on tasks is utilized to determine the actual cost spent on salaries and resources.

3. Earned Value: The Earned Value (EV) project KPI metric, also known as the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP), displays the budget allocated for completed project activities by a specified date, indicating the progress and corresponding budget utilization.

Utilizing multiple KPI dashboards and a summary dashboard for all project performance proves beneficial in managing multiple projects efficiently. Moreover, incorporating advanced project KPIs in the project tracking dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of project and business performance, essential for effective management.

4. Return on Investment: Return on Investment (ROI) measures a project’s profitability and compares its benefits to its costs. It’s important to recognize that not all projects yield a positive ROI immediately, as some may take longer to generate profits. Using measurable components such as the project’s Actual Cost and Earned Value to derive ROI metrics on the project KPI dashboard is essential.

5. Cost Variance: Cost Variance (CV) measures a project’s expenses and determines if the estimated project cost deviates from the planned baseline. By comparing the Planned Budget with the Actual Budget at a specific time, cost variance can be calculated to assess if the project is over or under the approved budget.

This analysis is crucial for monitoring budget adherence and identifying any deviations from the approved budget.

6. Cost Performance Index: The Cost Performance Index (CPI) helps in determining the project’s schedule status by indicating whether it’s behind or ahead. It is calculated as the ratio of the planned budget to the actual expenses incurred for task completion. This index serves as a measure of the project’s cost efficiency and provides insights into the relative value of work completed.

7. Cost of Managing Processes: Include the “Cost of Managing Processes” metric in your project dashboard to monitor the time and resources allocated for project supervision and management. High management costs signal inefficiencies in project management, while excessively low costs indicate poor team organization.

It is common for the team to dedicate time to project meetings and coordination efforts. Consider implementing automated invoicing and time billing software to alleviate the project manager’s workload and save time weekly.

8. Planned Hours of Work vs Actual Situation: Comparing planned work hours to the actual situation provides insight into the variance between scheduled and actual time spent in project processes. It’s valuable to assess this metric across different time frames and project phases.

If the actual hours significantly exceed the planned time, it calls for a re-estimation of the project schedule. Making use of work scheduling and project planning software can help in organizing projects and meeting deadlines effectively.

9. Overdue Project Tasks/ Crossed Deadlines: Incorporate the “Overdue Project Tasks” metric into your project tracking dashboard to monitor the number of overdue project activities. This KPI calculates the percentage of tasks with crossed deadlines relative to all completed project activities.

A high percentage of overdue tasks indicates the need to reassess the project schedule and consider involving new contributors.

10. Schedule Variance: Schedule Variance (SV) indicates whether your project is ahead or behind the planned budget and schedule. It is derived by subtracting the project’s Earned Value from its Planned Value. Essentially, SV involves deducting the initially planned time and budget from the actual time and budget spent.

A negative result signifies that you have accomplished more than planned and have a larger budget remaining for remaining tasks.

11. Missed Milestones: Milestone Delays, a common project dashboard metric, reveal whether you are behind schedule due to overestimation or consistently meeting milestones. While occasional delays are acceptable in long-term projects, frequent patterns indicate the need for a review of the entire project process.

12. Schedule Performance Index: The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) indicates if your project is ahead of or behind the planned schedule, typically near one.

It is calculated by dividing Earned Value (EV) by Planned Value (PV), with a result below one suggesting potential delays and above one indicating that the project is ahead of schedule. This KPI provides insight into the project’s schedule efficiency and adherence to planned timelines.

13. Percentage of Tasks Completed: For a rapid project performance summary, establish a KPI showing the percentage of tasks completed. Input the planned time for each project activity to ensure accuracy, providing insight into the project’s current phase.

This approach presents a more precise depiction of task completion progress based on time spent rather than the number of tasks.

14. Resource Utilization: Resource utilization provides a snapshot of your team’s productivity by measuring their work time on billable and non-billable activities. It’s particularly crucial for organizations working with multiple clients, as it reveals how much time is allocated to billable project tasks versus non-billable activities like meetings and scheduling. This KPI offers insights into the effective use of team members’ time and their overall work efficiency.

15. Percentage of Projects Completed on Time: The “Percentage of Projects Completed on Schedule or Time” KPI is essential for managing multiple projects. It reflects the proportion of projects completed on time versus those with crossed deadlines. Maintaining this percentage above 80% is crucial and falling below warrants hiring new team members or reducing the number of projects taken on.

Why Use KPIs for Project Management?

Why Use KPIs for Project Management

Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for project management offers several benefits such as assigning accountability, making decisions, measuring performance, issue identification, and more. Let’s read them in detail below:

  • Performance Measurement: KPIs provide quantifiable metrics for evaluating progress, performance, and success, allowing stakeholders to track the project’s alignment with strategic objectives.
  • Decision-Making: These offer data-driven insights, enabling informed decision-making, identifying key performance areas for project managers to improve, and allocating resources effectively.
  • Accountability: KPIs assign clear accountability by establishing measurable targets and fostering a culture of responsibility and transparency among project team members.
  • Early Issue Identification: By monitoring KPIs, project managers can easily identify all potential issues or risks, allowing proactive intervention to mitigate their impact.
  • Stakeholder Communication: KPIs facilitate transparent and effective communication with stakeholders by providing objective measures of project performance and success.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular KPI assessment encourages a focus on continuous improvement, driving enhancements in processes, performance, and outcomes.
  • Goal Alignment: Help align project activities with organizational goals, ensuring that project efforts contribute to the broader strategic objectives.

In summary, the use of KPIs in project management offers a structured approach to monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing project performance, ultimately contributing to successful project delivery.

Types of Project Management KPIs

Types of Key Performance Indicators in Project Management

Below are some of the key performance indicators examples in project management that facilitate the streamlined monitoring and execution of projects. Different project management KPI examples include:

  • Operational/Strategic or Process KPIs: These gauge the efficiency and productivity of business processes, such as the time taken to deliver a product.
  • Resource or Input KPIs: These monitor the assets and resources utilized in generating business outcomes, including research and development expenses, employee training funds, and raw material quality.
  • Outcome or Output KPIs: These evaluate the financial and non-financial consequences of business activities, such as generated revenues.
  • Leading KPIs: Tracking operations that can significantly influence future performance.
  • Lagging KPIs: Reflecting the outcome of an event post its occurrence, commonly observed in financial KPIs measuring past activity results.
  • Impact KPIs: Reflecting the overall impact or benefits obtained from business operations, encompassing metrics like customer retention and brand recognition.
  • Qualitative KPIs: Descriptive features, properties, opinions, or traits, often assessed through methods like employee satisfaction surveys.
  • Quantitative KPIs: Measurable characteristics obtained through numerical measurements, serve as the foundation for most KPIs. Examples include units per person-hour.

How to Track Key Performance Indicators in Project Management?

Tracking key performance indicators for project management requires a structured approach to ensure that the data provides meaningful insights into project performance. Here’s how to effectively track KPIs:

  • Define Clear KPIs: Clearly define the KPI matrix that aligns with the project’s objectives, ensuring they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Establish Baselines: Set baseline or benchmark values for each KPI to provide a reference point for comparing and evaluating progress.
  • Select Appropriate Tools: Choose suitable project management and reporting tools that can capture and analyze KPI data effectively.
  • Regular Data Collection: Implement a systematic process for collecting KPI data at predetermined intervals, ensuring consistency and accuracy.
  • Data Analysis: Analyze the collected KPI data to identify trends, patterns, and potential areas for improvement, facilitating data-driven decision-making.
  • Reporting and Visualization: Present KPI data in a clear and understandable format through dashboards, reports, or visualizations to communicate performance effectively to stakeholders.
  • Actionable Insights: Use KPI data to gain actionable insights that can drive corrective actions or measures, process improvements, and decision-making to enhance project performance.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitor the KPIs throughout the project lifecycle, enabling the project team to respond proactively to changes and issues.

By following these steps, project managers can effectively track KPIs, gain valuable insights, and make informed decisions to drive project performance and success.


In conclusion, project management KPI metrics are important for evaluating project success, monitoring progress, and making informed decisions. From financial metrics like ROI and cost variance to CPI and earned value, these KPIs offer valuable insights to drive effective project management.

By making effective use of KPIs, project teams can measure performance, identify improvement areas, and ensure successful project delivery through data-driven decision-making.

Project Management KPIs: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are KPI for project management?

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for project management are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a project is achieving its key objectives. These project metrics encompass various areas such as schedule adherence, budget management, quality, stakeholder satisfaction, and resource utilization. They provide crucial insights that enable project managers and stakeholders to assess performance, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions throughout the project lifecycle.

  2. What is KPI in PMO?

    KPI in PMO (Project Management Office) refers to Key Performance Indicators used to measure and evaluate the effectiveness and success of projects within the organization. These quantifiable metrics aid in assessing project performance and making decisions.

  3. What are 5 KPI?

    Five common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include Schedule Variance, Cost Performance Index, Customer Satisfaction Score, Resource Utilization, and On-time Delivery. These metrics help measure and evaluate performance in various areas of a project or organization.

  4. What is the KPI dashboard in project management?

    A smart KPI dashboard in project management is a visual tool that presents key performance indicators clearly and concisely. It provides real-time insights into project performance, allowing stakeholders to track progress and make informed decisions.

Written by Namrata Samal

Namrata is a skilled content writer with an expertise in writing marketing, tech, business-related topics, and more. She has been writing since 2021 and has written several write-ups. With her journey with Techjockey, she has worked on different genres of content like product descriptions, tech articles, alternate pages,... Read more

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