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Key role of KPI’s in building credibility for Project Managers

Pandemic Year of 2020 and recouping Year 2021 has certainly created a positive market of Project Managers in almost all the industries. The importance of having a PM on any specific sponsored task suddenly became utmost important across business sectors, especially in public health sector. This resulted in adapting to newfound customer needs by offering creative solutions and emergency on-time deliveries. The well-structured planning and execution phases which relied heavily on SOPs and set processes underwent change overnight into agile plans and real time execution of people-oriented strategies.

Th changing business dynamics by the disruption caused due to COVID-19 pandemic across the world, there still exists a large number of pockets in few industries doubting the presence of Project Managers in a project. Many a times, one can hear the water-cooler conversations with sentences like,

  • ‘Project Manager?? what is there to manage, I have a very dedicated, super talented tech team who knows there gig!’
  • ‘Ahh, management wont invest any dollars on a PM in this strategic project as the resources itself are damn costly’
  • ‘Another cost to my project, I guess I can project manage it myself – its about making plans and getting my team to work – I do it daily.’
  • ‘Project Managers !– what do they do? – coordinate meetings right, I can get my EA to do that for this project, lets talk about the budget for the Architect and Analyst then.’

Does any of these lines sound familiar to you – either said by someone in the organization you work with or work for. If the answer is yes, you would very well agree about the credibility of project managers getting questioned in pockets and sometime in public. This isn’t disparaging however, as leaders in the industry, it is inspiring to create credibility for this profession worldwide.

Well said by John C Maxwell, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, “Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; Without it, he or she is bankrupt.”

Project Managers have a lot of eyes on them when they plan, execute and control a project and those set of eyes should clearly see the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relative to PM’s credibility. When a project is successfully delivered, the focus seldom is on the project manager leading the baton, however accolades are won by the technical team members or the result drivers. It is very challenging to quantify the work done by a PM and major reason for that is, a lot of tasks that the PM undertakes is qualitative in nature and is extremely difficult to ascertain its value. Yes, a lack of such work like - strong communication channels, exception management, conflict management, stakeholder relationships etc, can be clearly seen during the project phases. Another key reason for believability issues on a Project managers role is also the increased skill availability in SCRUM masters and Product Owners where few aspects of the role overlap and hence reduce the visibility for the PMs.

Organization focussed on moving towards PM-Led delivery model needs to focus on well-researched set of Key Performance Indicators to lead to the building blocks of Project Managers Credibility in the organization.

The question arises How?

  • How do you measure a project managers performance?
  • Does the success of a project indicate that the PM was a success too?

Crafting the KPI’s for Project Managers to cater to these questions is not a simple task and requires a lot of thorough planning. KPI’s are very contextual to the mission and vision statement of the organization and its business operations. However, it follows a basic framework in its formulation and consist of specific measurement tools for indicating the goal achievement and performance measurement. Intertwining metrics to Key Result areas (KRAs) of Project Management gives an edge and create the quantitative measuring value for the work accomplished by a project manager.

Project Manager KPI’s focuses on 4 key result areas of project management and any company creating the KPI’s can start with these and later during the maturity of the performance management system for PMs can focus on more result areas like process improvements, relationships etc.


Apart from these Key Result Areas, whilst creating Goals and Objectives, the Organizations can also focus and include the Key Competency Areas aligned to the organization value system. Adding of the KCAs to the metrics creates a culture binding strain and also helps alignment to the overall organization mission and vision.

Richie Norton has once said, “Credibility comes from results and Everything else is just marketing.” The focus of having Simple Measurable, Clear, Achievable, Relatable & Timebound  (SMCART) KPIs for assessing project managers lays the foundation of credibility building exercise in any organization.



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Aanchal Tripathi Gulati

About author

Director - ePMO at Gibraltar Solutions Inc, Canada

A PMP certified Global Project Management Leader with rich experience in delivering large scale complex projects, effective change management and ensuring higher customer satisfaction. She is an expert at leading teams, developing frameworks and baseline Project Management Organizations. She is an active member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®), WICCI and presided as a Chairperson for PEEL School Council in recent years.

She is a winner of the Highest Indian civilian award for Creative Writing (Bal Shree Samman) by the H.E President of India and passionately blogs about parenting and leadership through various social media platforms.

Currently she is leading the Enterprise PMO for Gibraltar Solutions Inc, an IT services company in Canada and aims to create avenues for bringing in diversity in the field of project management by actively coaching and mentoring students and new aspirants about the art & science of managing projects.

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