On the Subject of Better Progress Measurement



20 June 2024

Ref: (1) 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


(2) Smith, K. F. (2024). On the Subject of Better Progress Measurement, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue VI, June. https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj142-Jun2024-Smith-on-better-progress-measurement-Letter-to-Editor.pdf

Dear David,

I think that a key set of definitions is missing from Jean Luc Ozoux’s article ‘Better Progress Measurement is the secret to Successful Projects . . .’ and Dr Kenneth Smith’s follow-up letter to the Editor.

To use Professor C.E.M.  Joad’s catchphrase on The Brains Trust: “it depends what you mean by …”. In this case, it depends what you mean by “progress”.

In a general sense, progress measurement aims to quantify at successive intervals how close you are getting to the stated goal. So, the next definition needed is “how do you measure distance”? This where the different options such as weighted or unweighted milestones becomes relevant.

There is a potential problem that is avoided by adopting weighted milestones: in the case of unweighted milestones, if the project manager chooses for whatever good or bad reason to define more early milestones in the project than later ones, and if each of these early milestones is therefore easier than the later ones to achieve, the reports on initial progress using the unweighted approach will be falsely optimistic.

As an example of the value of weighted milestones, in a road race, as shown below, the participants are generally more interested in the percentage of effort involved in each segment of the course (weighted milestones in brown) and less concerned with the actual length of each segment (unweighted milestones in white).


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this work: Piney, C. (2024). On the Subject of Better Progress Measurement, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj143-Jul2024-Piney-on-better-progress-measurement-Letter-to-Editor.pdf

By Crispin (“Kik”) Piney

South of France