June 14, 2018

Using Data-driven Analytics to Improve Project Outcomes

Written by
Nikhil Daddikar
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“What gets measured, gets managed” — Peter Drucker, management guru

If you do not measure your data, how can you manage or optimize your business?

Project Management is no different. Effective management of projects entails efficient management of the uncertainties and risks on the project. It requires today’s project managers to use analytical techniques to monitor and control the risks as well as to estimate project schedules and costs more accurately with analytics-driven prediction. Project-based data with analytics can enable project managers and executives to measure, observe, and analyze project performance objectively and make decisions and commitments based on facts.

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Why is Analytics Important in Project Management?

The high availability of analytical technology can enable project managers to use various analytical reports and drill-down charts to break down complex project data and predict their behavior and outcomes in real-time. Project managers can use this predictive information to make better decisions and keep projects on schedule and budget. A data-driven analytics approach enables teams to analyze the defined data to understand specific patterns and trends. Executives can use this analysis to determine how projects and resources perform and what strategic decisions they can take to improve the success rate.

How can project managers make use of a data-driven approach to improve project outcomes?

Capturing Projections and Early Signals

Data plays a significant role in any organization. Using analytics, managers and executives can watch for early signs of slippage in terms of budgets, costs, and timelines and take proactive action. Analytics also helps managers capture the rate of work, so they can easily predict whether the project will be completed on time. Managers can use a burn-down chart, for instance, which is a graphical representation of work left to do over time.

Moreover, deep and insightful analytics can help you improve resource utilization and better forecast revenue and costs. With analytics, organizations can take a broader view and combine unrelated data streams to offer deep insights into projections and early warning signs in complex projects.

Quality of Deliverable

Managing a new project can be a daunting task. There are different stakeholders, approvers, teams, budgets, outcomes, and expectations to manage. To manage all of this, analytics have become a major part of modern project management.

As a project manager, you need to understand how analytics can reduce your workload, improve processes and enhance the outcomes of your project. Quality is an ultimate measure of your project’s success upon delivery. Analytics help you plan, monitor and review the quality throughout your project.

Assisting Strategic Decisions

Analytics helps organizations make decisions that are based on facts instead of gut feeling. Real-time project analytics reveals a wealth of information that helps organizations align with their strategic objectives. Analytics allow managers and executives to deepen their understanding of how ongoing and proposed projects fit into the overall portfolio and organization vision.

In Conclusion

The market for data analytics and the business intelligence is predicted to grow to $22.8 Billion by 2020. According to the Project Management Institute, there will be a demand for 87.7 million project managers by 2027. With both these disciplines growing at an explosive rate, it only makes sense to use powerful tools interwoven into the organization’s fabric to create a more sustainable competitive advantage.

Nikhil is the co-founder of Celoxis, an all-in-one web-based platform for project and portfolio management. He is the chief architect and part brains behind the world’s most robust project management software. Nikhil takes pride in being a life hacker at heart. His favorite movie is The Prestige and is a big fan of poet Robert Frost.

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