What Are Lead and Lag Indicators In Project Management?

You must have heard the words lead and lag indicators in project management, but not many know what exactly it means. Businesses or companies initiate projects based on their customer’s requirements and standard regulations. To handle these projects, they use certain tools and strategies. For this purpose, lead and lag indicators are used so that they can schedule their projects and execute them in an organised way. For any project manager, these indicators are very important so that they analyse the performance of their project.

Lead and lag indicators in project management

Lead and Lag Indicators In Project Management

Importance of Lead and Lag Indicators in Project Management

Sequencing of any activity is very crucial in project management, and lead and lag indicators help in analysing the schedule. With the help of these indicators, one can develop a diagram that represents whether the project is performing as per schedule or not, and if there has been lag or lead as per the planned schedule.

Sometimes the person in charge of the project need to hold on to some activity due to some issues. And to cover up the lost time, they need to rush to complete other tasks or activities to ensure that the project is completed within the deadline. This makes the lead time very important.

What is the Difference Between Lead and Lag?

Even though both lead and lag indicators in project management are very crucial for analysing the project performance, they are not the same thing. Lead can only be analysed from the start to end of the project or activity. It helps in rushing the future activities. If an activity started at a particular time, the lead will indicate the proposed end time for that particular activity. Lag, on the other hand, shows the time lag in the activity. It can be seen anywhere during the activity and not specifically at the start or stop time only. For example, if an activity starts on time but lags behind somewhere in the middle, then the lag can be identified using lag indicators.

Understanding Lead and Lag Indicators in Project Management

Lag is a common word that is used for something that is running behind the scheduled time. In project management, it means that the activity is being postponed due to some other activity lined up before that. For example, if someone starts providing his or her input on something that was made available 7 days ago, then this means that there is a lag of 7 days.

On the other hand, lead means the time taken by the next activity. For example, once the feedback is given, the changes based on the feedback is supposed to take place within a few days, but the work is done within 5 days, then this means that the activity is leading.

Lead and lag indicators in project management

Lead and Lag Indicators In Project Management

How do Lead and Lag Indicators in Project Management Work

Lead and lag indicators in project management are essential to keep a track of the performance of your ongoing project. With the lead indicators, you can predict your estimated progress, while with the lag indicators, the output can be measured. The lag indicator only records what has been happening, but with the lead indicator, you can predict the change and the impact.

These indicators are very important for any project manager, as they help in analysing what went wrong and how. This can help in ensuring the same mistake does not happen again, and things can fixed to move things smoothly at a faster rate. This helps in estimating the time, and in turn, provides you with the lead indicator. However, with the lead indicators, you cannot provide accurate time as you can only predict the time with guess, and you need to work hard on it to make it happen.

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Article Author Details

Layla Flinn

Layla Flinn is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. She writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. She thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. She believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.