Here are the top 4 metrics which will help CXOs, PMO Directors and Project Managers spot a failing project and help arrest the problematic situation.

These tools and metrics are also useful for measuring and monitoring the performance of project resources such as the project managers, project team leaders and project team members.

These metrics can be used for performance appraisals by project leaders.

Here are the leading indicators or the predictive metrics to spot a failing project

Frequent revisions to the project plan

Indecision, the inexperience of project sponsors/ leaders, poor prioritization

Multiple changes to the project team

Abundance or deficit of resources, changes in roles, misaligned metric

Skewness in the managerial time spent on projects

Collaboration break down, loose delegation, tight controls

Overworked help desk team

Faulty offerings, misaligned expectations



Frequent revisions to the project plan

Making a detailed project plan before the start of the project is the responsibility of the project leaders. It brings clarity to project goals and deliverables. A good project plan gives direction to the efforts of the project team.

However, when the project manager does many changes to the WBS (work breakdown structure) frequently, it shows his/her inability to identify subtasks, visualize the critical path and assign priorities. It could be a result of multiple factors such as a lack of clarity or understanding, indecisive nature or lack of skills required for the job.

It is a good indicator for the project sponsor/ PMO and the customer that it is likely to be a failing project and the team will not be able to deliver the desired output on time.

Multiple changes to the project team

Resource management is a very critical part of the entire project management process. So when the resource manager does not carry out the process of resource estimation, prioritization and allocation diligently, it results into sub-optimal resource pool indicated by abundance or deficit of resources. The resource mismatch sure is an indication that it is a failing project.

Ad hoc changes in the roles and responsibilities of resources leave them unclear of their job description and the project suffers. The performance measurement metrics can be used to spot these disruptions which can give insights into whether the project is at the risk of failure.

Skewness in the managerial time spent on projects

Managerial time spent on various projects is directly correlated to the level of delegation that he/she does to the team leaders. Too much or too little delegation is harmful to project health.

Timesheet analysis metrics serve as a leading indicator of ‘project failing’. The PMO Director or the CEO and CFO of the organization can use the timesheet metrics of the project managers and team leaders to spot the problematic projects which run a high risk of delays.

Overworked help desk team

When the quality of project resources such as developers or analysts on the job is not up to the mark, the quality of project deliverables suffers resulting in project failure.

The help deskteam manages the defect tickets or issue tickets. So help desk metrics can serve as performance metrics and a predictive tool for analyzing the quality and performance of various project resources.

Tracking the volume and type of help tickets can be a useful tool in the hands of project managers to spot a failing project.

To know how Whizible can help you spot a failing project and take corrective actions, please book a free consultation

About the author

Sanjeevani Sathe, is a VP Research and Content with Whizible, a project enterprise management software company catering to MSME, SME and even large companies. Sanjeevani is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has 10+ years of work experience in research and consulting with the Boston Consulting Group, UCStrategy and Rare Enterprises private equity group owned by Mr Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.

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