Benchmarking Opportunities

Historically, benchmarking is accomplished by two approaches: competitive benchmarking and process benchmarking. Competitive benchmarking concentrates on deliverables and quantitative critical success factors. Process benchmarking focuses on process performance and functionality. Process benchmarking is most closely aligned to project management. For simplicity's sake, we will consider only process improvement benchmarking. We can break it down into quantitative (i.e., integration) process improvement opportunities and qualitative process improvement opportunities.

Figure 8-3 shows the quantitative process improvement opportunities, which center around enhancements due to integration opportunities. The five major areas identified in Figure 8-3 are the five integrated processes described in Level 3 of the project management maturity model (PMMM).

Figure 8-4 shows the qualitative process improvement opportunities, which center around applications and further changes to the corporate culture. Included in the qualitative process improvement activities are:

• Corporate acceptance: This includes getting the entire organization to accept a singular methodology for managing projects. Pockets of project management support tend to hinder rapid acceptance of project management by the rest of the organization. To obtain corporate acceptance, we must:

• Increase the usage and support of existing users

FIGURE 8-3. Quantitative process improvement opportunities strategies).

(generic integrated process

FIGURE 8-3. Quantitative process improvement opportunities strategies).

(generic integrated process

• Attract new internal users, those who have been providing resistance to project management

• Discourage the development of parallel methodologies, which can create further pockets of project management. This is done by showing the added costs of parallelization.

• Emphasize the present and future benefits to the corporation that will result from using a singular methodology.

• Integrated processes: This is a recognition that the singular methodology can be enhanced further by integrating other existing processes into the singular methodology. Typically, this includes business processes such as capital budgeting, feasibility studies, cost-benefit analyses, and return-on-investment analyses. New processes that could be integrated include supply chain management.

• Enhanced benchmarking: Everyone tends to benchmark against the best within their own industry, but benchmarking against nonsimilar industries can be just as fruitful. An aerospace company spent over ten years benchmarking only against other aerospace companies. During the mid-1990s, the firm began benchmarking against nonaerospace firms, and found that these firms had developed outstanding methodologies with capabilities exceeding those of the aerospace firm.

• Software enhancements: Although off-the-shelf software packages exist, most firms still need some type of customization. This can be done through internal upgrades for customization or by new purchases, with the software vendor developing the customization.

FIGURE 8-4. Qualitative process improvement opportunities (generic performance improvement strategies).
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