Using Leading Indicators to Improve Project Performance Measurement

  • Li Zheng
  • Claude Baron
  • Philippe Esteban
  • Rui Xue
  • Qiang ZhangEmail author
  • Shanlin Yang


Project performance measurement offers a wide range of methods to help project managers monitor projects. However, several critical issues remain in project performance measurement, such as an unbalanced use of indicators due to a lack of prediction-based (leading) indicators with regard to outcome-based (lagging) indicators. For its part, systems engineering measurement, although a more recent discipline, offers a wide variety of indicators, including a set of leading indicators. As our objective is to increase project performance and success rates, this involves improving project performance measurement on which project management decisions are based. This purpose, the proposal put forward in this paper is to extend the number and type of indicators used in project performance measurement by adapting the leading indicators defined in systems engineering measurement. The methodology involves first mapping the systems engineering indicators with the project management activities, resulting in identification of a set of potentially useful indicators for measuring the different activities, then tailoring a selection of these indicators with project-specific data to define a set of the most relevant indicators for a given project. This methodology is illustrated by means of a case study in a manufacturing company.


Project performance measurement systems engineering measurement leading indicators lagging indicators 


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The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviews for their help to improve the quality of the paper. The work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, under grants 71690230, 71690235 and 71501055.


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Copyright information

© Systems Engineering Society of China and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Zheng
    • 1
  • Claude Baron
    • 1
  • Philippe Esteban
    • 1
  • Rui Xue
    • 1
  • Qiang Zhang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shanlin Yang
    • 2
  1. 1.LAAS-CNRSUniversité de ToulouseToulouseFrance
  2. 2.School of ManagementHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina

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