At a glance, Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information seem similar; both terms are different, although they are closely related; they help you understand the project’s status.
Work Performance Data gives you rough data on the project’s status and helps you create the Work Performance Information. It is the basis of performance reports.
A performance report is a very important communication tool for a project manager and to create it you will need Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information.
If you understand these two concepts, creating performance reports won’t be difficult.
Work Performance Data
According to the PMBOK Guide, 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 the percent of work physically completed.”
In other words, it is the current status of various project parameters such as how much work has been completed, how much time has elapsed, and the cost incurred so far.
Work Performance Data includes, but is not limited to:
You will see to the compliance of requirements, non-conformities, the number of change requests received versus those accepted or rejected, etc.
You will see how many activities have been started, how many have been finished, the status of current ongoing activities, etc.
You will note the cost performance of the project: how much work has been completed, how much money has been spent to date, etc.
You will measure the technical performance, such as the characteristics of the product, quality metrics, number of defects, and the rejection rate.
You will see which reports have been distributed, the feedback on these communication reports, etc.
You will see how many identified and unidentified risks have occurred, how many new ones are identified, the effectiveness of the risk response plans, how much contingency or management reserve has been utilized, the impact on project constraints such as schedule, cost, and scope.
Here, you will get data about the procurement-related activities: for example, quality standards met by the seller, the seller’s performance, etc.
Now let’s find work performance data in the PMBOK Guide:
- The output of 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
Work Performance Data is an output of Direct and Manage Project Work. It is gathered throughout the execution phase, and then it is sent to various controlling processes to analyze it further: e.g., Validate Scope, Control Scope, Control Schedule, Control Cost, etc.
You can create the Work Performance Information with this information.
Work Performance Information
According to 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., the status of deliverables, forecasted estimates to complete, etc.”
Here, you analyze the Work Performance Data. You will compare the planned performance with actual performance.
Work Performance Information includes, but is not limited to:
You will review the project’s progress: e.g., the status of deliverables, whether the deliverable is accepted, how the project scope is performing against the scope baseline, etc.
You will compare the planned schedule with the actual schedule. You can see the planned duration for an activity, and the time taken by the activity to be completed, etc.
You can 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 and cost performance.
You will analyze the planned technical performance versus actual technical performance: how many defects, how much tolerance and threshold was allowed, how much it is, and how much rework is required.
You will compare how many identified risks have occurred, the efficiency of the risk response plan, how much of the contingency money has been spent, and the balance of the contingency or management reserve, etc.
Here, you will review the seller’s performance.
Let’s have a look on the PMBOK Guide, and you will that Work Performance Information is:
- Input to Monitor and Control Project Work
- The output of the Validate Scope
- The output of the Control Scope
- The output of the Control Schedule
- The output of the Control Costs
- The output of the Control Quality
- The output of the Control Communications
- The output of the Control Risks
- The output of the Control Procurements
- The output of the Control Stakeholder Engagement
You can see that the Work Performance Information is an output of various controlling processes and is an input to Monitor and Control Project Work, where it is used to generate the performance reports.
Before I complete this blog post, let’s review the key difference between Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information.
- Work Performance Data shows the current state of the project. Work Performance Information is a comparison between the actual performance with planned performance.
- Examples of Work Performance Data are the actual cost spent, the actual time elapsed, etc. Examples of Work Performance Information are Cost Variance, Schedule Variance, Cost Performance Index, and Schedule Performance Index, etc.
WPD and WPI show you where the project is going. You can forecast your progress and take corrective action if needed.
Work Performance Data is the raw data from observations of your project, and Work Performance Information is the comparison between the actual data and the planned data. These two are the backbone of your performance reports and are essential communication tools. These data help you monitor the project’s progress and compare it with the planned progress. WPD and WPI are used in developing performance reports.
How do you collect work performance data in your projects and prepare work performance information? Please share your experiences in the comments section.