Rather than some tirade on why metrics are so great for projects, let’s just list some critical ones:
Schedule – Planned vrs Actual – preferably via Earned Value
Functional – % designed, implemented, tested, released
Delivery on Time – Milestones Planned vrs Actual
Cost – Planned vrs Actual to date
Cost – Planned Total at Completion vrs Revised/Re-estimate at Completion
Critical & Other Defects – Planned vrs Actual conducted + Trend
Resources (people, hardware, etc) – Planned vrs Actual
Resources (people, hardware, etc) – Planned At Completion vrs Revised/Re-estimate at Completion
Risks – New, Closed, Open + Trend
Issues – New, Closed, Open + Trend
Deliverables – Planned vrs Actual to date
Tests – Planned vrs Actual Conducted + Trend
Naturally all of these metrics are quantifiable. Qualitative information can be useful when prepared in conduction with the above metrics.
Problems start to happen when people start wordsmithing their qualitative statements and start to leave out some of the quantitative stuff from reports. That’s a BIG RED flag and caution should be taken.