I recall a very positive meeting where we exposed several non project management team members to a Cost Performance Report (CPR) for the first time. A CPR addresses project performance through a defined period of time in relation to contractual requirements. The CPR details budgeted work scheduled and performed, actual cost work performed, and the variance in both schedule and cost. All of this is itemized per Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) element for both the current period and the cumulative to date. The last values you see are the budgeted, estimated, and variance at completion of the contract. There were a lot of questions as to why one WBS element has a positive or negative cost variance and why it may have a positive or negative schedule variance. Trying to explain this to those without a project management background can be a challenge.
I was having a sidebar conversation with one team member who could not understand how the element that pertained to him could be both ahead of schedule and below budgeted cost. The answer came from across the room in the form of a question.
"Is there any way this report captures quality?" The answer was no.
That my friends is called Triple Constraint. We know the Scope, Time, and Cost within this report. What we don't know is Quality, Risk, or Customer Satisfaction. That's ok. This is the CPR, not a Total Project Status (TPS) Report.
By not committing the scheduled time and budgeted dollars to complete the task to a level of quality that meets the customer's expectations, the contractor looks good only on paper.