In the dynamic world of construction, financial foresight is the cornerstone of success. The Work Backlog by Project Manager (PM) stands as a testament to this, offering a forward-looking snapshot of the workload and revenue that lies ahead. Let’s unpack the significance of this KPI, how it’s calculated, and the tangible impact it has on the day-to-day and strategic decision-making processes.

The Essence of Work Backlog

The Work Backlog KPI represents the volume of work secured via contracts but remains to be completed and billed. It’s not just a metric; it’s a predictor of future cash flow and a planner for resource allocation. As such, it’s a vital compass for any construction business aiming to navigate the ebbs and flows of project demand and financial health.

Components of Work Backlog:

    • Project Manager (PM): The lead overseeing the projects.
    • Active Jobs: The number of ongoing projects managed by each PM.
    • Revised Contract Value (RCV): The updated value of the contracts post any amendments.
    • Year-To-Date (YTD) Billings: The total billed to clients within the current year.
    • Work Backlog: The monetary value of work that has been contracted but not yet billed or completed.

Calculating the Work Backlog

Here’s how you can compute this critical KPI:

Work Backlog = Original Contract Value +  Approves Contract Changes + Pending Contract Changes – JTD Work Billed

This calculation gives you an estimation of the work that is guaranteed and yet to be done, translating into potential revenue.

Real-world Applications and Impact

Consider the following scenario:


     Jordan Kinelar: With eight active jobs, a revised contract value of approximately $49.8 million, and a work backlog of over $18 million, this substantial backlog figure indicates a strong pipeline of work. It underscores the importance of efficient project and financial management to ensure profitability.

    Joseph Becher: Managing one job with a $6,000 contract, equating to a smaller backlog, suggests either a project early in its lifecycle or smaller in scope.

    Maxwell Baker: With six jobs and a relatively low amount of YTD billings, presenting a backlog of $53,200, indicates a significant volume of work ahead.

     The Strategic Role of Work Backlog

      • Resource Planning: Helps PMs to plan labor and materials, ensuring optimal utilization.
      • Financial Planning: Serves as a financial planning aid, offering insights into future revenue streams.
      • Performance Measurement: A barometer of a PM’s effectiveness in managing projects.
      • Risk Management: A sudden drop or rise in the backlog can signal potential risks or opportunities, necessitating prompt action.


    The Work Backlog KPI is not just about numbers; it’s about the narrative it tells of a construction company’s future. For project managers, CFOs, and controllers, it’s an indispensable tool that enables proactive management of project pipelines and financial stability.

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