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Contracting for performance

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Classic project objectives are set in terms of cost, time and performance. Bringing it in on time and to budget are risk management achievements which are internal to the project.

Performance starts before there is a project and continues after the project is complete. Managing risks to performance is a subtler aspect of project management, while within business-as-usual organisations the delivery of performance is a key issue on scales ranging from the individual to the whole business.

For many people working within project management, understanding the risks to performance is by no means straightforward. For example:

  • When we talk about performance, do we mean meeting objectives and delivering a ‘fit-for purpose’ product?
  • Is performance all about quality, audits, KPIs or KRIs?
  • Do we have agreed definitions for performance?
  • How should we measure performance?
  • Do we know what the risks to performance are?

The Association for Project Management Risk Specific Interest Group (SIG) held a one day event with the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) in July 2009 to explore these issues. The specific objectives for the event were:

  • to explore what good practice meant in three areas: risk management, performance management and benefits realisation management;
  • to explore how these three areas differed and to explore the lessons that attendees could learn from each area;
  • to consider whether they should be brought together to form a single discipline or not.

From this event the white paper below was produced.


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