There are many professionals who have studied the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide for their PMP exam preparation, and unfortunately could not appear for or pass the exam before 31st July.
Now the new version of the PMBOK Guide has arrived, and the exam pattern has shifted to it. Therefore, you have to align your studies with the latest edition of this guide.
Since many of you have gone through the fourth edition of the PMBOK guide, and are now studying the fifth edition, you will be noticing a few changes in the new edition of the PMBOK Guide.
Some changes are minor, a few are major, but the change which I’m going to discuss now is a bit confusing.
In the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide, there were two terms, namely Work Performance Measurements, and Work Performance Information.
However, in the fifth edition, PMI has made some changes: work performance measurement is replaced by work performance information, and the old work performance information (in the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide) is now known as work performance data.
Confusing, isn’t it?
So now you have work performance data and work performance information in the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide, no more work performance measurements.
If you are starting your studies with the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide, you are good to go, and no need to worry about this change. However, if you have gone through the old version and are now studying the new version, I suggest you forget the old definitions, and read this blog post with a fresh mind.
Okay, let’s get into it…
When I started my PMP Exam preparation, and the first time I encountered these terms, I was thinking ‘what is the work performance data’, ‘what is the work performance information’, ‘what are performance reports’, and how are they different?
At first sight they all looked similar to me, and it was a little difficult to see the difference among them. Therefore, I researched these terms to get a better understanding.
In fact, all these terms are different and closely related to each other. They help you understand the project’s current status, and its health.
Work performance data gives you rough information about the project’s status, which helps you create the work performance information, and then with the help of work performance information, you can build the performance report.
In this blog post, you’re going to read about the work performance data, and work performance information. For performance report, I have written a separate blog post.
Work Performance Data
As per the PMBOK Guide, the work performance data is “the raw observations and measurements identified during activities performed to carry out the project work; e.g. actual cost, actual duration, and percent of work physically completed.”
You can say that the work performance data is the raw data of the project’s status. In other words, it is the current (“as of now”) status of various project parameters such as: how much work is completed, how much time has elapsed, the cost incurred so far, etc.
Once you get this information, you can go ahead and create the Work Performance Information.
Work Performance Data includes, but not limited to:
Here you will see the compliance of requirements, non-conformities, and the number of change requests received versus accepted or rejected, etc.
Here you will see how many activities have been started, how many activities have been finished, and the status of current ongoing activities, etc.
Here you will note the cost parameter of the project; e.g. how much work has been completed, how much money has been spent to date, etc.
Here you will measure the technical performance; e.g. characteristics of the product (physical properties), quality metrics, number of defects, the rejection rate, etc.
Here you will see which communications report has been distributed, feedback on this communication report, etc.
Here you will see how many identified and unidentified risks have occurred, how many new risks are identified, the effectiveness of risk response plan, how much contingency or management reserve has been utilized, the impact of risks on project constraints such as schedule, cost, and scope, etc.
Here you will get data about the procurement related activities, for example: quality standards met by seller, seller’s performance, etc.
Now let’s find the work performance data in the PMBOK Guide:
- Output of the Direct and Manage Project Work
- Input to Validate Scope
- Input to Control Scope
- Input to Control Schedule
- Input to Control Cost
- Input to Control Quality
- Input to Control Communication
- Input to Control Risks
- Input to Control Procurements
- Input to Control Stakeholder Engagement
You can clearly see that the work performance data is an output of the Direct and Manage Project Work. Work performance data is collected throughout the execution phase of the project, and then it is sent to various controlling processes to analyze it further; e.g. Validate Scope, Control Scope, Control Schedule, Control Cost, etc.
Work Performance Information
As per the PMBOK Guide, the work performance information is “the performance data collected from various controlling processes, analyzed in context and integrated based on relationships across areas; e.g. status of deliverables, and forecasted estimates to complete, etc.”
Here, you will analyze the work performance data. You will compare the planned performance with actual performance.
Work Performance Information includes, but is not limited to:
Here you will review the project’s progress; e.g. status of deliverables, whether the deliverable is accepted, how the project scope is performing against the scope baseline, etc.
Here you will compare the planned schedule with the actual schedule. You will see the planned duration for an activity, and the time taken by the activity to be completed, etc.
Here you will see the planned cost for a task, and compare it with the actual cost of this activity; i.e. planned cost versus actual cost spent. You will also review other parameters such as cost variance, cost performance, etc.
Here you will analyze the planned technical performance versus actual technical performance, such as how many defects, and how much tolerance and threshold was allowed, and how much it actually is, how much rework is required, etc.
Here you can find the status and progress information of the project.
Here you will compare how many identified risks have occurred, the efficiency of risk response plan, how much contingency money has been spent, and what is the balance of the contingency or management reserve, etc.
Here you will review the seller’s performance.
Now let’s find the Work Performance Information in the PMBOK Guide:
- Input to Monitor and Control Project Work
- Output of the Validate Scope
- Output of the Control Scope
- Output of the Control Schedule
- Output of the Control Costs
- Output of the Control Quality
- Output of the Control Communications
- Output of the Control Risks
- Output of the Control Procurements
- Output of the Control Stakeholder Engagement
You can see that the work performance information is an output of various controlling processes, and input to Monitor and Control Project Work where it is used to generate the performance reports.
This was all about the work performance data and work performance information. Before I complete this blog post, let’s revisit some key points:
- Work performance data is the “as of now” status of the project status, it provides the current status of the project, and work performance information is a comparison between the actual performance with the planned performance.
- Examples of work performance data are the actual cost spent, actual time elapsed, etc. Examples of work performance information are Cost Variance, Schedule Variance, Cost Performance Index, and Schedule Performance Index, etc.
Work performance data is raw data of the observations of your project, and the work performance information is the comparison between the actual data and the planned data. These two are the backbone to your performance report and are very important communication tools. These data help you monitor project progress and compare with the planned progress. They also help you in forecasting, and you can take corrective and preventive action if needed.
Here is where this blog post post completes. Share your thoughts in the comments section if you have any to add or you need some clarification.
Now you can move on to Performance Report in Project Management to read about the Performance Report.