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KPIs for Project Managers

70+ KPIs for Project Manager to Track Project (Ultimate KPI List)

KPIs For Project Manager

We now know, Key performance indicators (KPIs) are used as key measure to evaluate how effectively project is performing. In absence of KPIs it would be just a guesswork and arbitrary to determine project success or failure. Even one would not be able to specify how well or how much badly the project has performed.

KPIs for Project Managers

In the previous article we looked at the list of measures i.e KPIs that are readily available for project team members and they can track their own performance using these KPIs. Project manager on the other hand needs to take micro as well as high-level view of a project. S/he needs to know exactly what is happening in the project in terms of tasks schedule, budget, estimated cost, actual cost, issues, risks, changes, resource allocation, utilization, over-all progress, blocking elements, etc.

Track KPIs For Project Manager Using ZilicusPM

There are different ways for different organizations to evaluate progress of a project or performance of the team. It means one company/department can have different KPIs from other. These key performance index (Project KPIs) can be like

  • No project can lag behind schedule by more than 30% at any time


  • Every project should have resource utilization of at least 75% at any time


  • No project cost can overshoot its budget by 20 %


  • No project can have open issues percentage more than 40%


  • Maximum risk exposure for any project can have is 40%


  • Allowable Cost Performance Index range is 85%-100%

As a performance evaluation process for projects, organization or Project Management Office (PMO) therein, should have KPIs defined for its team, projects, project managers, etc. ZilicusPM has more than seventy (70+) KPIs for project managers to assess health of the project(s).

A short note: Reposted from previous article

Although ideally, all projects should be managed holistically, it is possible that team members and in some cases project managers are not well versed with holistic way of managing projects. It is understandable and true for accidental project managers. ZilicusPM has a way wherein one can turn off the project management modules for the company, if team is not comfortable with. Of course, one can turn on these modules again as and when team knows about say project risks, project changes, project issues, stakeholder management, time tracking, cost management, expenses tracking, etc.

Project Management Modules ZilicusPM - Tracking KPIs for Project Manager

Now let’s look at KPIs that project managers can track to assess progress of the projects they are managing.

For some of these KPIs, there is explanation and as well as snapshot is provided.

High Level Indicators (Project KPIs for Project Manager)

  • Project Health – Schedule

Though not every organization has mature project management processes in place but business managers are smart people and they have a way to assess whether project business is going in right direction or not. If your organization has a way to specify what is acceptable slippage for a project, it becomes a KPI. As mentioned earlier, some organizations can not let project lag more than 40% behind schedule, otherwise they feel the heat of penalty from their clients. In this case, internally, they might want to set project schedule KPI as 30%. So whenever any project lags behind schedule by 25%, it gets highlighted and corrective action can be taken.

Project Health Schedule - KPI for Project Manager

  • Project Health – Resources

If your project has resource being used for their  30% of allocated time, that would be very difficult to justify in today’s competitive world. Especially if your projects have contractors and if you don’t assign them enough work, they it adds to cost without significant benefit to the project. Resource utilization is very important KPIs not only from team perspective but also whether project manager is able to do justice to its role. ZilicusPM let’s you clearly and transparently know about resource utilization.

Project Health Resource Utilization-KPI for Project-Manager

  • Project Health – Issues

If you are a professional services orgnaization delivering client projects, or if you are building a product, then can you let project issues, incidents/bugs remain open: how many, for how much longer, by whom, of what priority. Answers to these questions gives you another KPI about project Health – Issues. ZilicusPM multi-project dashboard clearly shows percentage of open issues for a given project a given point in time. If KPI says there can not be more than 50% of the issue remain open at any time, clearly what we see below is a crossing the limit set by KPI.

Project Health Open Issues-KPI for Project-Manager

  • Project Health – Risk

Similarly if your organization, department or projects deal with compliance, audit or anything related to hazardous stuff (Environment Health Safety); then risk management is must for you. In such cases, the performance evaluation i.e. the KPI can be based on project Risk Exposure. You can track risk exposure on a regular basis and ensure that you are not crossing the line.


Project Health Risk - KPI For Project Manager

  • Project Schedule Planned Vs Actual Progress

Project Schedule Planned Vs Actual Progress- KPIs for Project Manager

  • Project Budget Utilization

Tracking this KPI PM would expect that actual cost of the project is still within the budget and you don’t have to go for increase-the-budget approval

Budget Utilization - KPIs for Project Managers

  • Project Budget vs Estimated Cost

Project Budget vs Estimated Cost - KPI for Project Manager

Project Budget vs Estimated Cost KPI gives absolute picture whether project estmated cost is overshooting budget or project maanger would have revise budget and get the approval. ZilicusPM has these comparison chart presented for project managers to easily and clearly understand the true picture of project budget-estimated cost.

  • Project Estimated Cost Vs Actual Cost

Project Estimated Cost Vs Actual Cost - Project KPI for Project Manager

Project Estimated Cost vs Actual Cost KPI is clear indicator that informs project managers how far project ‘s actual financials are deviating from its planned one. It is easier to trace project cost daviation to estimated cost and understand which elements (project resources, tasks, issues, risks, changes) have contributed to change in the actual project cost from the estimated one.

  • Project Resource Utilisation

Project Resource Utilization - Project KPI for Project Manager

Project managers in professional services companies are very careful about resource utilization; simply because every resource hour costs and can be billing to client. Maximum resource utilization and maximum billability is how professional services strive to do the business. This KPI clearly helps project manager understand which all projects where resources are not utilized to desired percentage. Say an organization has KPI of at least 78% resource utilization across project, then project managers will find this KPI easier to know whether s/he is complying to organization’s KPI.

Projects Status KPIs

  • Number of Projects in Progress

Number of Projects With In Progress Status

  • Number of Projects in Planning

Number of Projects with Planning Status - KPI for Project Manager

  • Number of Cancelled Projects

Similar to the numbers shown above, project manager can also see/track number of cancelled project for him (as well as other projects, if he is involved)

  • Number of On-Hold Projects

Once in a while, if your projects are put on hold for some reason, that might be okay. But if such thing keep repeating, then you will have to alert. Such tracking of On-Hold projects can be a KPI for certain kinds of industry or managers.

  • Number of Completed Projects

  • Total Number of Projects Being Managed

  • Portfolio-wise Number of Projects

Portfolio-wise Number of Projects - KPI for Project Manager

Project Schedule KPIs

  • Project Slippage/Advances

How much of a project slippage is acceptable, when should be reported or escalated & brought to senior management’s attention. A project KPI for project slippage will set the guidance for project managers say – Upto 30% slippage in project schedule can be tolerated at any point in time. As mentioned earlier, if there are penalty for project delays, then organizations are very careful about project slippage. Such KPIs prove to be very effective in tracking and containing project delays.

Project Slippage - KPI for Project Manager

  • Number of In Progress Tasks

Number of Project Tasks - In Progress - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Number of Not Started Tasks

Number of Project Tasks - Not Started - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Number of Completed Tasks

Similar to number of In Progress or Not Started tasks, one can check number of completed tasks in a project.

  • Progress of High Level Tasks

Project manager or portfolio manager would want to check progress of a project schedule at a higher level of project plan. This project KPI allows project manager to compare planned completion vs actual completion at a given moment for higher level of project tasks.

Project Progress of High Level Tasks - WBS - KPIs for Project Manager


Similarly there are additional project KPIs that one can track to ensure project schedule is progressing the way organization expects.

  • Number of Overdue Tasks

  • Number of Tasks Yet to Start

  • Number of High Priority Tasks in Progress

  • Number of High Priority Tasks Overdue

  • Number of Milestones Achieved

  • Number of Milestones Pending

  • Number of Milestones in Future

  • Number of Unassigned Tasks

  • Earned Value (EV) Analysis

  • Schedule Performance Index (CPI)

  • Schedule Variance

  • Project Tasks on Critical Path

  • Baseline Schedule

  • Number of Pending Tasks This Week

  • Number of Pending Tasks Next Week


Project Budget, Cost KPIs

Project financial KPIs are considered to be the most crucial apart from schedule/progress one, of course because if is about money, it can be about topline, it can be about bottomline as well. Companies, project managers have different ways to track financial performance of the project. Popular ones in project management domain are cost performance index (CPI), cost variance, project billing, margin, etc. One can track project financial performance using ZilicusPM.

  • Planned Value (PV) – Project KPI

Earned value management is well known project performance evaluation technique. It evaluate project performance objectively in terms of schedule, cost as per plan and actual progress. One of the key elements of Earned Value management (EVM) is planned value of a project. It is also known as budgeted cost of work scheduled (BCWS).

BCWS of a project is estimated cost of scheduled project activities – tasks along with overheads, as on a date. Remember, this budget is planned or scheduled activities (remaining) in the future and not actually performed ones or even those scheduled in the past date.

Example given below will make it easier to understand the concept and calculations.

Say we have a 10 days project with budget of USD 10000. On 4th day, the expected completion of the project is 40% with 60% remaining. Hence the planned value of the project will be

Planned Value (PV) = % of scheduled project remaining * budget

Planned Value (PV) = 60% * USD 10000 = USD 6000

Comparing planned value (PV) with actual cost of the project gives a sense of whether we are over-spending or progressing at a cost lesser than estimated.

  • Actual Project Cost

Though there is no special formula for calculating actual project cost, as one has to simply add all elements that have contributed towards completion of project activities. It is also called as Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) in earned value management methodology.

  • Earned Value (EV)

Earned Value (EV) is used pretty regularly by seasoned and experienced project managers. Earned value of a project shows how much value has a project earned till a given point in time. It is also termed as Budgeted Cost of Worked Performed (BCWP). It is the proportion of project budget that is equivalent of actual progress made i.e. project value earned.

  • Project Cost Variance (CV)

Project cost variance is the difference between actual cost of project and budgeted amount. It clearly tells us whether project manager responsible for a project is overshooting its allocated budget or it is progressed within budget.

  • Project Cost Overrun

  • Project Cost Performance Index (CPI)

In pure mathematical or formula terms, it is a ratio of earned value (EV) over actual cost (AC). It is viewed as a measure of cost efficiency of project execution – whether allocated budget, resources etc are utilized effectively to earn desired value of the project.

  • Estimated Fixed Cost, Resource Cost at Task Level

Estimated Fixed Cost, Resource Cost at Task Level1- KPIs for Project Manager

  • Actual Fixed Cost, Actual Resource Cost at Task Level

Actual Fixed Cost, Actual Resource Cost at Task Level- KPIs for Project Manager

  • Estimated Cost of Work Scheduled at Task Level

Estimated Cost of Work Scheduled at Task Level- KPIs for Project Manager

  • Estimated Cost of Work Performed at Task Level

  • Project Billing

Project Billing- KPIs for Project Manager

  • Project Margin

Project Resources KPIs

  • Resource-wise percentage Utilization in a Project

Project Resource Utilization Team - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Resource-wise Load in a Project

  • Resource Billing in a Project

  • Resource cost in a Project

  • Actual Work Hours Spent in a Project

  • Customer Wise Resource Work Planned Vs Actual Work

Project Issues KPIs

  • Number of High Priority Issues

Project Issues - High Priority - KPI for Project Manager

  • Number of Medium Priority Issues

Project Issues - Medium Priority - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Number of Medium Priority Issues

  • Number of Issues without Priority

  • Number of Reported Issues

Total Number of Issues Reported in a Project - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Number of Unresolved Issues

Project Issues Summary - KPIs for Project Manager

  • Number of Issues Reported by Customer

  • Number of Unresolved Customer Issues

  • Number of Resolved Issues

  • Number of High Priority Unresolved Issues

  • Number of Issues Per Resources

Project Issues Assigned to Team Members - KPIs for Project Manager

Project Risks KPIs

  • Risk Heatmap/ Risk Matrix


Project Risks Heatmap - KPI for Project Manager

  • Number of Risks in Project Risk Register

  • Number of Un-reviewd Risks

  • Number of Reviewed Risks

  • Number of Closed Risks

  • Number of Risks with Catastrophic Impact

  • Number of Risks with Severe Impact

  • Number of Risks with Medium Impact

  • Number of Risks with Insignificant Impact

  • Number of High Probability Risks

  • Number of Low Probability Risks

Project Change Requests KPIs

  • Number of Active Change Requests

  • Number of Change Requests Submitted

  • Number of Change Requests Reviewed

  • Number of Change Requests To Be Reviewed

  • Number of Approved Change Request

  • Number of Rejected Change Request

  • Number of High Priority Change Request

  • Number of Medium Priority Change Request

  • Number of Low Priority Change Request

  • Number of Change Requests Assigned to Per Team Member

In the next post, we will look at KPI for project portfolio managers. Is there any other KPIs you as a project manager track? Do let us know your opinion.

Tips to Choose The Right Project Management Software- Signup for project stakeholder management software

Additional readings about project management, leadership

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About Zilicus

Zilicus offers All-In-One online project management software ZilicusPM that provides complete project management control for project and portfolio managers; at the same time makes it really simple for project team members to stay on top of things. If you have been managing projects with conventional spreadsheet/ MS Excel templates or emails, it is the right time to start using online project portfolio management software. ZilicusPM is great platform for better project collaboration. Take a screenshot tour of project management software tour of ZilicusPM and Sign up for 30-days free trial of project management software ZilicusPM

Also published on Medium.

Project KPIs That Everyone Should Track Using ZilicusPM
Project Portfolio KPIs That Portfolio Managers Can Track

I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.