Delivery Success Indicators – what are they and why do they matter?

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Delivery Success Indicators – DSIs – are a type of KPIs that help our project managers measure their projects’ performance.

Measuring project success is necessary if we want to be effective and make informed decisions about our projects. The DSIs are crucial to ensure that software development processes are conducted according to our highest standards and norms. As a need to monitor several important IT project areas arose, Future Processing’s Project Management Office and Technical Expertise teams created and adopted the DSIs in great detail, and we now use them on a regular basis.

Why are DSIs important?

We needed a truly reliable way of assessing our projects in terms of their effectiveness and status, and that is why Delivery Success Indicators came to life. Their purpose is to measure the project’s success based on real data and numbers, not intuition or gut feeling. DSIs allow us to draw adequate conclusions and streamline the delivery process, and this in turn supports us in building trust, increasing transparency and maximising work efficiency.

Delivery Success Indicators – how they work

In our DSI assessments, we analyse areas connected with the following general categories:

  • client relationships,
  • the team and its team leader,
  • project delivery according to the client’s expectations,
  • Best Practices of Software Development.

Each category contains a number of measurable DSIs that are crucial for our delivery processes to be successful. Some examples of more detailed indicators include: “Tasks have clearly defined acceptance criteria”, “All potential problems are quickly and transparently raised by both sides”, “The team’s velocity is optimal”, “The team member rotation is low” and many more – prepared according to what we believe is most important for project delivery in our organisation.

Each project is evaluated quarterly (or more often if needed) and ultimately presented as a single number on a 5-point scale:

  • > 3 – green projects – everything works as it should;
  • < 3 – yellow projects – the situation is stable and we have control over the reconstructive plan;
  • < 3 – red projects – either the situation is not stable enough or the reconstructive plan is not working.

After we gather the necessary information about the projects and we have the recent scores ready, the next step is to plan further actions. What we can focus on is:

  • preparing an action plan (for example the previously mentioned reconstructive plan) to make vital improvements in yellow and red projects,
  • making use of the best practices from green projects and adapting them into yellow and red projects,
  • exchanging best practices across green projects to improve their score even further.

What are the benefits of measuring DSIs?

What is important is that sometimes gut feelings are wrong or just not completely right. We may not see something that may be damaging to the project in the long run, but DSIs come to the rescue with their set of scores, showing us the clear picture of the situation.

We are always honest and transparent with our clients when it comes to our collaboration, so the benefits are there for everyone:

  • DSIs help us present our clients with the current state of our work using facts and numbers,
  • we can make decisions that are more effective and adapted to a particular project,
  • we focus on the projects that really need our attention,
  • we monitor the right implementation of our Best Practices of Software Development,
  • we are more proactive, reliable and dependable – both for our clients and within our teams,
  • any potential issues are detected early and may be avoided altogether,
  • our clients are provided with possible solutions to any problems that occur,
  • we know exactly why a project is successful and how this success can be transferred to other projects,
  • we are able to use the acquired knowledge to improve the services we offer to our clients.

As you can see, Delivery Success Indicators are vital for the smooth application of the company’s norms and standards within the projects, and the fact that they work is a great asset for the clients as well.

Things to remember while implementing KPIs for delivery processes

What you must take into account is that for KPIs such as our DSIs to be successful, they have to be prepared according to what you really offer to the clients and what of it may be analysed – observed and counted – to make it more measurable and efficient. Your KPIs should be based on several points of view because people engaged in the project may feel and see things differently, and you want to be as unbiased in your opinions as possible. At the same time, everyone involved should have a common understanding of the indicators to give points as adequately as possible.

What is more, DSIs have to be implemented at the right time. Some of the indicators may not be possible to score when a project has just started, but our team leaders know the DSIs and what to focus on while kick-starting the IT project. Bearing this in mind, only the variables that are relevant should be chosen, and they all have to be assessed on a regular basis to manage their structure. This ensures the organisation’s development and staying up-to-date with what should be measured. You have to be able to add or change the indicators, as they should not be carved in stone – they have to reflect real-life processes and offered services to stay valuable.

To sum up

Delivery Success Indicators are a greatly useful tool to ensure the delivery processes’ success. We do not have to rely solely on intuition or feelings, but we use the numbers and scores that enable us to see in black and white what the real statuses of our projects are.

DSIs show us and our clients any pain points or success points worth noticing – we then are able to make use of them all and avoid future problems or, on the other hand, replicate the actions that generate value.

Asking the right questions is always worth the effort – they support the organisation in being more efficient, transparent, reliable and successful. At Future Processing, we are always happy to provide relevant consultation and help. If you want to know more, contact us.

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