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I'm writing an app that track's a project's health. There are several factors that go into deciding how healthy a project is. The three major factors are whether the project is on time, within budget and the burn rate of cash is such that you can finish the project on time and on budget.

But even if a project is on time and within budget, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration that can affect the project's health rating. Here are some:

  • Quality of product/service: If the quality of the product or service being delivered turns out to be unacceptable, this will affect a project's health.
  • Risks: Any major risk that suddenly comes up has the potential of affecting the project's health.
  • Task completion time: Even if tasks are getting completed before their deadline, if the amount of time that they are completed ahead of schedule continues to decrease, there is the risk that eventually the project will be behind schedule. This kind of belongs to "risks" but could be considered separate.

Are there other factors that you can think of that would affect a project's health that I should be aware of?

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    Hi AndroidDev, welcome to PM.SE! I'd say your question is pretty good (and the idea of an app to track it looks nice). To make it a better fit for PM.SE community, I'd suggest to focus on the specific criteria you consider for project health tracking. Something like "I want to track dimensions A, B and C. What is the list of other critical metrics I should also consider to track the health of my project properly?". Even so, it could be considered borderline. Caution - there's several downvoted / close questions on tracking tag. Go through them to understand the rationale on them.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Feb 26 '19 at 9:41
  • The quality of the product does not affect project health. Project health affects the quality of the product. Feb 26 '19 at 11:28
  • Yes, I agree but since I am quantifying a project's health, I need to quantify their quality and take that into the calculation.
    – AndroidDev
    Feb 26 '19 at 13:59
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In my view, project outcomes may or may not signal the health of a project. Projects can be very well managed but still produce unfavorable outcomes due to many variables, many or most of which can be out of the project team's control. Judging how well managed a project is/was due to budget or schedule overruns can simply be wrong.

Despite outcomes, inspection of the various PM processes and controls are far more indicative of health. What methods are being used to manage and control costs. If a project has a strong, say, earned value process, even though that process might be yielding very unfavorable cost indices, you have a healthy process and thus a healthy project. Similarly, how is the project managing its schedule. If the process includes a strong method of, say, critical path management or earned schedule, despite being late, you have indications of a healthy project.

Same goes for change control, configuration control, risk management, stakeholder management, sponsorship management, requirements baselines, quality surveillance, communications, staffing management, procurement management, etc.

Well managed and healthy projects can produce degraded outcomes and a poorly run project can produce favorable outcomes. This is an important distinction in determining how to gauge project health.

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  • Even if you have fantastic process controls in place but the project is severely behind schedule because the processes must be followed, the project is still in bad health overall. Stakeholders are only interested in the bottom line: Is it being built on time, under budget and with acceptable quality. So if 2 identical projects are carried out by 2 different companies and both deliver at the same time, cost and quality but one company has better internal processes, I would certainly say that it has a higher health rating than the other one. Some stakeholders care about this while others don't.
    – AndroidDev
    Feb 26 '19 at 13:56
  • To be fair though, the finer metrics you mention are important but these vary significantly by different companies and even within companies. When management is trying to determine the health of a project, they don't want to be overloaded with stuff they don't understand. CEOs in larger corporations simply cannot handle this amount of data. Also, different departments use different tools for tracking this. But ultimately, they should be able to use their tools to derive concise info in order to report on a few very important metrics that management is interested in.
    – AndroidDev
    Feb 26 '19 at 14:08
  • I think a lot of folks would say that, if behind schedule, the project is in bad health. However, that is a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. And I think if one were to have that view it is to their detriment. Part of business is our ability to predict to the degree we can. Certainly, outcomes have some degree of predictive validity; however, actions in my opinion have a higher degree of predictive validity. A lot of random, uncontrollable variables are at play and sometimes they go your way despite bad performance. You cannot count on random variables. Feb 26 '19 at 15:32

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