At a glance, Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information seem similar; although they are closely related, these distinct terms will help you better understand and navigate your project’s status.
Work Performance Data gives you rough data on the project’s status and helps you create the Work Performance Information, the basis of performance reports.
A performance report is an essential communication tool for a project manager, and to create this report; you will need both Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information.
In today’s blog post, we will discuss the merits of these two terms.
Work Performance Data and Work Performance Information
If you understand these two concepts, creating performance reports won’t be difficult. Let’s start with Work Performance Data.
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.”
Work Performance Data is the status of project parameters, such as how much work has been completed, how much time has elapsed, and the cost incurred so far.
Examples of Work Performance Data
Work Performance Data includes, but is not limited to:
- Scope: You will see the requirement, non-conformities, the number of change requests received versus those accepted or rejected, etc.
- Time: You will see how many activities have been started, how many finished, the status of current ongoing activities, etc.
- Cost: You will note the project’s cost performance: how much work has been completed, how much money has been spent to date, etc.
- Quality: You will measure the technical performance, such as the characteristics of the product, quality metrics, number of defects, and the rejection rate.
- Communications: You will see which reports have been distributed, the feedback on these communication reports, etc.
- Risks: 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, and the impact on project constraints such as schedule, cost, and scope.
- Procurement: Here, you will get data about the procurement-related activities: quality standards met by the seller, the seller’s performance, etc.
Next, let’s review WPD 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
WPD is an output of Direct and Manage Project Work. It is gathered throughout the execution phase and then sent to various controlling processes for further analysis: Validate Scope, Control Scope, Control Schedule, Control Cost, etc.
From this data, you can create the Work Performance Information (WPI).
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.”
Work Performance Information helps you analyze the Work Performance Data and compare the planned performance with the actual performance.
Examples of Work Performance Information
Work Performance Information includes, but is not limited to:
- Scope: 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.
- Time: You will compare the planned schedule with the actual schedule. You can see the planned duration of an activity, and the time taken by the activity to be completed, etc.
- Cost: You can see the planned cost for a task and compare it with the actual cost, i.e., the planned cost versus the actual cost spent. You will also review other parameters, such as cost variance and cost performance.
- Quality: You will analyze the planned technical performance versus actual technical performance: how many defects, how much tolerance and threshold were allowed, how much it costs, and how much rework is required.
- Risk: 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, the balance of the contingency or management reserve, etc.
- Procurement: Here, you will review the seller’s performance.
Let’s have a look at the PMBOK Guide, which describes WPI as:
- 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.
Work Performance Data vs 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, Schedule Performance Index, etc.
WPD and WPI show you where the project is going, so 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 analysis and comparison between the actual data and the planned data. These two are the backbone of your performance reports and essential communication tools, helping you monitor the project’s progress and compare it with the planned progress.
Comprehending both concepts is essential to pass the PMP exam successfully.
How do you collect work performance data in your projects and prepare work performance information? Please share your experiences in the comments section.