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Comparing Activity-Based and Product-Based Measures of Progress

The primary advantage of the percent-complete measure is that credit is given for work that is partially done. The primary disadvantage is that a project can claim credit for a lot of progress but have no completed units. Many units can be almost done before anything is totally finished. This could represent a red flag that people are taking credit for progress without completing the product. At the very least, it invites questions.

The advantage of the work-unit progress measure is that it shows the progress of the actual product as it evolves toward completion. The disadvantage is that no value is earned by the project until the whole unit is completed (no partial credit). Another disadvantage is that units tend to be weighted equally when there may be large differences in difficulty. If a project completes all the easy units first, the project may appear to be further along than it is in reality.

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