Better progress measurement is the secret


to successful projects – and a crucial objective

for IT in project-driven organisations



By Jean Luc Ozoux

Senior Industry Consultant,
Asset Lifecycle Intelligence Division, Hexagon

Paris, France

There are three kinds of lies when it comes to project management: lies, damned lies, and initial project timelines.

That could be the conclusions of research led by Bent Flyvbjerg, a professor at Oxford University. After compiling the results of over 16,000 projects ranging from construction to IT, he asserts that only 8.5% achieve their initial objectives within the allocated time and budget.

A recent study by Hexagon, in collaboration with the Project Management Institute, offers a more nuanced view. It reveals that a significant share of companies (40%) report that fewer than half of their major projects meet planned timelines and budgets. Conversely, 20% say that these objectives are achieved in 80% or more of the cases.

Due to the vast complexity of large projects, it’s often impossible to know exactly where one stands at any given moment. Decisions are therefore made based on partial, missing, or simply false data. Without reliable information, it’s impossible to compare projects, make corrections, or identify failure areas – this leads to guesswork and often incorrect assumptions.

A problem of frameworks

Improving progress measurement begins with choosing the right project management frameworks.

IT managers play a key role here in avoiding subjective or opaque method choices. Poor methods often share common flaws: manual input and manipulation of information, lack of objective definition of milestones, and inability to prioritise what’s important. This leads to ‘box-ticking’ without genuinely advancing the project.

During the design phase, what can be advantageous is the use of the weighted milestone method: establishing a list of milestones that make the design stages measurable, then weighting the properties to complete for each milestone. This allows for measuring progress incrementally between milestones and avoiding the “black boxes” that obscure the project’s progress.

Understanding what gets in the way of high project performance

However, the inability to ascertain a project’s status is not merely a methodological issue. In reality, three categories of factors play a role:

  • Technical factors, such as manual data management, key information storage in Excel files, or the inability to delve into details and verify information. These are naturally among the primary areas of focus for IT departments. One solution could be adopting a suitable Enterprise Project Performance (EPP) platform. This platform would integrate key project functions (project management, controls, resources, etc.) and connect to multiple data sources like ERP and business applications.


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How to cite this article: Ozoux, J. L. (2024).  Better progress measurement is the secret to successful projects – and a crucial objective for IT in project-driven organisations, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue V, May.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/pmwj141-May2024-Ozoux-better-progress-measurement-is-the-secret-2.pdf

About the Author

Jean Luc Ozoux

Paris, France


Jean Luc Ozoux is a Senior Industry Consultant for Hexagon. An MBA graduate of Paris University in Information Systems and Management, he has over 35 years of experience in software implementation and the management of capital projects. Mr. Ozoux is based in Paris, France. He can be contacted through: info.europe.ppm@hexagon.com

Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division helps clients design, construct, and operate more profitable, safe, and sustainable industrial facilities. We empower customers to unlock data, accelerate industrial project modernization and digital maturity, increase productivity, and move the sustainability needle. Learn more at https://hexagon.com/products/product-groups/asset-lifecycle-intelligence