2010 06 01 MV: In my day-to-day work as a profesional project manager, I find that in many (not all) situations, even modest KPIs are quite useful – often MORE useful than my fancy arcaine-and-complex-formulae-driven KPIs.

Try adding the following 2 columns to your Project Issues list and Project Tasks list, and see how fast people begin to actually mention to you how more useful these lists become:
1. ADD a “Threat Level” column:
– choice type column;
– choices are colors: Silver, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red
2. ADD a KPI column;
– calculated field;
– formula simply uses the color in the ThreatLevel column to actually display a TRAFFIC LIGHT WITH THAT SAME COLOR.
Here’s the formula:

KPI Formula

[kudos to PathToSharePoint for his lovely formula generator]

Here’s what it looks like in use with a Project Issues List:

Simple KPI In Use

Here’s all you have to teach your users (project team):
1. BROWSE the landing page (with summarized “landing page views” of all key lists on that page) of  the project teamsite daily;
2. OPEN the red-balled items assigned to you;
3. UPDATE the ThreatLevel column by simply (intuitively) choosing the appropriate color code;
=> The KPI column will display a traffic light in the color you’ve chosen 🙂 …  

Now this approach may seem primitive and non-sexy, but ultimately those seeking to be “excellent” PMs NEED their entire team to feel confident using all the tools available to them. THIS approach gives everyone on The Project the ability to set the perceived “threat level” using their own intuition, which IMHO far more often than not is VERY accurate – MORE accurate than my advanced bean-counting formulae [and I’ve got 2 Masters Degrees in Robotics/Mechanical Engineering (U of Minn IT) and Computer Science/AI (IIT)]… 😐

And if we disagree on the “threat level”?…
No problem – we just negotiate it back & forth a time or two, until we’re in agreement. I’ve found the very ACT of negotiating results also in CLARIFYING the issue/task, so that both I (The PM) and they (the worker) invariably concur on the final value of the KPI… and THEY feel like they were genuinely engaged in this process 🙂 …

Give it a try, and see if you think the same…

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