What is Project Performance Management?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Project performance management is an ongoing review of the efficiency and importance of a given project. This important concept is used throughout the business and professional world as a means of understanding and improving company, department, and personnel performance. There are many ways to conduct these reviews, most geared toward analyzing practices and data in order to improve procedure.

Project performance management is sometimes used to evaluate the work of a team in the workplace.
Project performance management is sometimes used to evaluate the work of a team in the workplace.

There are many factors that determine whether a project is a success, varying based on the initial goals of the project. If a primary goal is to increase office efficiency by 20%, project performance management will involve looking at the before-and-after data, taking into account whether the strategy for this project was appropriate, and how much the efficiency drive cost versus how much profit or improvement it generated. A primary financial goal will be examined largely for the cost versus profits ratio, although it also may take into account how efficiently and wisely the budget was spent in pursuit of the goal.

Peer review may be conducted to assess the performance of a team of workers on a project.
Peer review may be conducted to assess the performance of a team of workers on a project.

Project performance management can also be used to assess the performance of a worker or team of workers on a given project. This is typically done through interviews, peer review, or anonymous questionnaires. A project may be dragged down or failing due to poor communication, unequal workloads, or failure to cooperate among workers. Managing project performance can help determine which, if any of these factors are inhibiting progress and may be able to devise a solution to get a project back on track.

A company or business may choose to hire an outside professional to conduct project performance management, or may use the head of a department or project to gather this type of data. An outside performance manager allows a more objective look at performance, without the difficulty of personal relationships with employees or hopes to advance within the company being examined. On the other hand, an internal performance manager may have a more thorough understanding of the business and its daily behavior. This insider knowledge may allow an internal reviewer to suggest solutions and improvements that fit the personality of the company, rather than a less-specific ideal business model.

In some cases, employees may find project performance management to be invasive, unfairly conducted, and a nuisance. It is important to have real proof that careful performance management benefits everyone at the company, not just the bottom profit line. If employees can personally experience the benefits of filling out questionnaires and enduring difficult interviews about their work, they may be more willing to invest time into project performance management sessions.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments


Great article.


Most people hate it when performance appraisal comes around at the end of the year. But appraisals can actually be very helpful. I think it's stressful for employees if they fear losing their job or position. But in my experience, that's a rare occurrence unless a company is downsizing. Usually, appraisals are just about finding areas for improvement and new opportunities for future projects. It's about responsibility and success but it's not a threat.


@burcinc-- Those are great points.

I'm part of a project performance management team at my company and we pay a lot of attention to these issues. I personally make sure to provide objective feedback. If I have to criticize, I make sure that it's constructive criticism and I always give praise where praise is due. In fact, it should be a rule to praise an employee's success before criticizing their failure. Otherwise, as you said, employees will feel unappreciated.

Another common issue with project performance management is not setting clear, achievable goals and objectives. It's frustrating for people to deliver and stay motivated if they're not exactly sure what they should be achieving.


If a company doesn't have a very experienced performance management team, then I think it's best for the company to hire a professional team or individual for this. The reason I think this way is because some employees do knot know enough about performance management techniques and can make things worse.

At my previous workplace, our supervisor was responsible for performance feedback. But his entire idea of feedback was just criticizing the work without offering any helpful advice or motivating us by telling us our accomplishments. So after feedback, we all just felt very upset and annoyed. He made us look like failures and consequently a lot of us felt unappreciated. The whole process reduced our motivation to do better.

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