Do numbers matter? You bet they do! A look at metrics in cycling and project management!

July 22, 2013 | LeAnn Nowak

Before I started this quest for a Centric, I really considered myself a runner. But then due to an injury that forced me to take six weeks off training, I discovered cycling. As a runner, I had my running watch at my disposal and I liked to also use it for my rides. I figured as long as I had the number of miles I went and the total time, I knew what I needed to know.

Sound familiar? I often hear Principals of Architectural and Engineering firms say they don’t need project management software – they figure if they have money in the bank they are doing okay. They don’t need metrics.

I recently discovered the difference numbers can make. And, I know from experience the numbers can make a difference for you. You might have cash flow but are your projects really profitable, what is your average percent of profit, what is your actual fee per hour spent?

E firms need to have information available so you can use real-time information from time and expenses and see if projects are on, over or under budget. If you are going to make a profit – you need to keep on budget and you can’t react to issues if you don’t have good information at your fingertips. The same goes for staffing – if you don’t know if you are reaching milestones on your projects – how do you make adjustments?

Using project ratio tracking is another valuable metric that helps you evaluate current work as well as setting fees for new work. If you can measure fees by ratios such as percentage of construction costs, fee per area, per hour, per drawing…you can predict profits going in rather than waiting until you are coming out to see how you did.

And, imagine not only being able to view your gross and net profits by project – but also taking a look at max profit possible (the best case scenario if you complete your project with no additional costs).

These numbers, although using different terms, are the same numbers I needed to see on the bike. I thought total miles and time spent was enough until I got a Garmin. Now I understand that the information I can see in real-time, at my fingertips and through post-ride reports has given me a whole new understanding of my training. I can now see my cadence, my average moving miles per hour, my elevation change, my average heart rate. All metrics that make a difference.

I love knowing at any point in my ride that I might need to improve, speed up, slow down…whatever is necessary for max efficiency. So, you might have money in the bank but are you reaching your max?