Using Analytics for Project Management

Using analytics can help project managers handle complex projects and keep them on-schedule and on-budget. Using analytics, project management professionals have the ability to go beyond simply capturing data and checking tasks off as they’re completed. Now, they can find out a multitude of information, including exactly how projects are performing, and whether or not they are in line with the overall objectives. Analytics give project managers the ability to make strategic decisions and improve project success rate.

Why Analytics are Vital to Project Management

Analytics show how a project relates to and impacts the rest of the organization. Project management analytics can help teams ensure projects will be completed on time and according to specifications. In addition, analytics can help a project manager assess the viability of various options and avoid unforeseen problems – with real-time flexibility that can help avert disaster.

How Analytics are Used

Traditionally, companies have used data to forecast trends based on historical evidence. As the amount of available data has exploded – particularly with the Internet and social media – obtaining meaningful insights has become more difficult. Analytics make it possible to find the meaning behind the numbers, so they can be used to predict outcomes against variables.

How Analytics Improve Projects

Data charts can show a manager at a glance how each project is progressing: whether milestones are being met and budgets are in line. Detailed analytics take a broader view. For example, they might show the total time a team member allocates to each project, his or her contributions to meeting goals, and how a small shift in focus might improve outcomes – in other words, how each person fits into and affects the project. Analytics save time by giving context to data, so it becomes easier to maximize productivity and prioritize tasks. Analytics can also combine unrelated data streams to offer even better insights.

How Project Managers Can Best Use Analytics

Analytics can be used by project managers to assess a project’s viability, gauge which projects are meeting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and provide progress updates to stakeholders. Gathering and recording data for all projects is important, so a manager has the ability to see how a change made in Project A impacts Projects B, C and D. Through these insights, project managers can instantly determine whether a project or task should proceed as planned, change course or be discarded altogether.

Using Analytics for Projecting Outcomes

Data can tell a project manager if a software launch is on schedule or not. Analytics can tell a project manager how each day of delay in delivering the product to consumers will impact the company’s profits. Business analysts (BAs) use advanced data modeling and data warehousing to show actual costs across possible dates of completion, based on current and alternative rates of productivity. They can also predict customer responses to various product offerings, pricing and delivery methods.

Using Analytics to Create Strategies

Analytics can forecast resource shortages, equipment failures, asset availability, production and maintenance costs, and any number of other competitive factors a business may face. Using analytics, project managers have the power to see how a potential task affects outcomes before they happen – and to make sound, strategic decisions based on that information.

Improve Project Management with Analytics

Beyond simply gathering data from one project, analytics allow project managers to heighten their understanding of how every current or proposed project fits into the overall picture and affect each other. Whether the goal of a project is to increase quality, resolve a system problem, improve operations or prevent losses, analytics can give project managers the insight necessary to make it more successful.

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