Project Management: KRA’s and KPI’s

Session Report
Manya Deshpande

An online International Summer School Program on “Data, Monitoring and Evaluation” is a two-month immersive online hands-on certificate training course organized by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. The day 8 of the program started with a session on “Project Management: KRA’s and KPI’s” by Mr. V Ramakrishnan.

About the Data, Monitoring and Evaluation program

The training program was conducted by an expert group of academicians which included 

  1. Prof Nilanjan Banik, Professor and Program Director (BA, Economics and Finance) at Mahindra University, Hyderabad
  2. Prof Mukul AsherFormer Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of SingaporeVisiting Distinguished Professor at IMPRI 
  3. Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Economics, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. 

Other notable experts include 

  1. Dr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg, Germany; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI 
  2. Prof Gummadi Sridevi,Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad; Visiting Professor, IMPRI 
  3. Dr Amar Jesani,Independent Researcher and Teacher (Bioethics and Public Health); Editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 
  4. Dr Radhika Pandey,Senior Fellow, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), New Delhi 
  5. Prof Vibhuti Patel,Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI
  6. Dr Ismail Haque, Fellow, ICRIER and Visiting Fellow, at  IMPRI
  7. Mr V. Ramakrishnan,Managing Director, Organisation Development, Singapore
  8. Prof VinaVaswani,Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Yenepoya (Deemed to be) University, Mangalore
  9. Mr Rakesh Pandey, ​Assistant Policy Researcher, Doctoral Scholar, Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corporation, USA 
  10. Prof Nalin Bharti, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI.

The Conveners for the course were Dr Simi MehtaCEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI and Dr Arjun Kumar, Director at IMPRI.

Fiza Mahajan, a researcher at IMPRI, opened the event by introducing the distinguished panelists and welcoming the speakers and attendees to the program.

The session was commenced by Mr. V Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of ‘Organisation Development PTE, Singapore. The key objective of his section was to provide a common understanding of ‘data’ and ‘project management’ with the help of KPI’s and KRA’s. He started off with an overview of the subject and how it can fit right in any industry or domain; especially emphasizing on the importance of extracting relevant information from one’s data set. One should clearly define the project: its sequence of tasks, outcomes, budget, productivity parameters and the schedule, according to him. 

Introduction to Project Management

He then gave a brief summary of the concept of Project Management and how it is simply the proficient application of the team’s resources at hand, to meet the project’s requirements. These essential steps help when dealing with projects that include overwhelming chunks of data. The distinction between two significant keywords, ‘outcome’ and output’ were brought to attention, the focal point being a successful outcome. An outcome would be the planned goal and is unpredictable in nature. Output on the other hand, is the actual work/tasks produced by all resources combined in a project.

All About KRA’s and KPI’s

A successful outcome requires KRA’s (Key Result Areas) and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). He aptly defined the two terms; the two are indexes of how effectively an outcome has been delivered. KRA’s point to ‘the value delivered against what is to be delivered’. In a world full of vast, ‘meaningless’ data, KRA’s capture the important bits and communicate areas that need to be focused on. KPI’s are the metric for productiveness of the activity required to deliver a KRA. He goes on to explain how KPI’s clarify the gap between intention and actuality. “If you don’t have a KRA, a KPI is useless.”

Next, building on his point from the introduction, he explained the concept of ‘Data versus Information’ and the significance of context: ‘Data is the brick, Information the Edifice.’ He elucidates how data is the raw, unorganized collection of values whereas information collates these values into context. Here’s where the prominence of specifying the ‘big picture’ comes in. Purposeful action comes through quality information. 

Using KRA’s and KPI’s, he explained how one can follow a balanced, step-by-step procedure for overarching outcomes, targets and outputs (which are all correlated) specific to Public Policy. There are two types of such intended outcomes: those at the macro scale such as national and sectoral outcomes and those at the micro scale such as the individual and corporate targets. The former relates to the ‘quality of life’ and the latter to ‘quality of living’.

He gave a detailed overview of how one may seamlessly transition into following each of the ‘Ten Steps in Designing, Building and Sustaining Results Driven, M&E Based VFM System’. Simply put, these steps should ideally be a series of cascading KRA’s for macro-outcomes assisted with appropriate KPI’s aimed at micro targets to reap aspired objectives. The steps ranged from readiness assessment, monitoring and evaluation to sustainability. For each of the subsequent steps, he expounded on their relevance, the milestones to be monitored and the required number of KRA’s and KPI’s. 

Monitoring and Evaluation can also be streamlined by KRA’s; following a carefully put together two-pronged, course of action involving in-depth planning, execution, analysis and feedback loops. The activities of both KRA’s and KPI’s in their respective loops will be slightly different than each other; but the idea is to reach a common, planned aim. 

In conclusion, he stressed on how KPI’s are of no use without systematized KRA’s and effectual project management with these two tools can really be a game changer for delivering prolific outcomes and several important projects. 

Acknowledgement: Manya Deshpande is Research Intern at IMPRI.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here

Hands-on Data Learning Session-Probability distributions: Density and Cumulative

Enhancing Application of Numerical Literacy and Data in Public Policy Applications in India



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