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Project metrics

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” E. Edwards Deming


  • What performance metrics will you use?
  • What is the baseline you’ll use to measure performance against? 
  • Will you use any industry benchmarks for comparison?
  • What are your minimum performance standards?
  • How will you collect and track metrics data?
  • How will you record or document the collection of metrics data?
  • How you will analyze metrics, report, and present any findings?
  • How will the project benefit from your use of metrics?
  • What level of effort will be required to collect, assess, and present the measures, and how can it be streamlined?
  • How you will measure productivity, efficiency, and utility?
  • How will you know if you’ve met your customer’s requirements?
  • How do the performance metrics of what you are bidding compare to those of your competitors?

Recommended Approaches

Performance metrics are the units that you use to measure service delivery.  They can require a lot of thought, because it can be difficult to measure outcomes that are not tangible.  For example, consider: How do you measure the progress of software development?  How do you measure the quality of software?  Performance metrics can be used to measure productivity and quality.  They can also be used to establish performance standards and enable you to measure success.

Performance metrics are typically addressed in the quality plan.  They can also be cited in the relevant sections of the proposal as the criteria you will use to measure output, outcomes, and ultimately success.


Measuring progress, quality, and success can be a competitive advantage over those who don’t. But when everyone uses metrics, it’s no longer enough have have measurements, you need the best measurements.

If the RFP specifies performance metrics and standards to be achieved, then meeting them makes you merely compliant and not exceptional.  To be exceptional, you have to raise the bar.

Look for metrics that either already meet or will be able to meet that exceed the requirement. Then raise the requirement and draw attention to it. If there are performance incentives and penalties, then raise the penalties on the ones you know you can meet.  If there aren’t any, then add them. People have an instinctive reaction to avoid penalties.  Embracing them (especially when you’re confident you won’t trigger them) can be a competitive advantage.

Remember, the customer has to trust you to buy from you.  Measurements, especially when backed by incentives and penalties, make your claims more tangible and believable.  

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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

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