To achieve the central goal of maximizing project performance of an
organization, there are four process areas that must be optimized.
PD-Trak provides tools to manage these processes.
Capture, rank and select ideas -
All projects start as
an idea. PD-Trak provides tools to capture and rank the ideas
that only the best ideas are used to seed new projects.Optimize the value of the project portfolio
- The goal is to
execute a set of projects that will optimize future business
performance; to select projects that achieve an optimum mix / balance
given short term and long term business objectives.
Align projects with strategy -
Choosing projects that
are consistent with strategic objectives described by the business plan.
Project prioritization - The relative importance of the
projects in the portfolio should be established and maintained over
time. This information is necessary to support investment and
resource reallocation decisions as things change. PD-Trak provides
simple and comprehensive project scoring tools
to support project prioritization.
Long term resource management - Reconciling the plan
for future projects with resource constraints. Many companies set
portfolio targets that are too aggressive i.e. too many projects; this
results in all projects being late. PD-Trak provides
analysis tools that allow the management team to assess how many
projects are realistic and what resource types are limiting project
Structured method for planning and executing projects -
The stage / phase-gate process provides a roadmap for project teams to
follow. It defines phases that the project will pass through and
establishes a language for communicating where the project is in its
lifecycle e.g. Development Phase, Launch Phase etc. Each phase has
defined objectives, tasks and documents that must be addressed.
Tasks and documents may be defined as not applicable - this allows an
important balance between flexibility (scaling the process to the
project) and rigor / consistency. PD-Trak offers a number of
predefined stage / phase-gate process
for different industries and different types of projects.
Guides teams to follow
- The key to consistent excellence in project
execution is to follow a best practice based process that ensures that
critically important tasks are executed at the right time. The
phase-gate process will guide the team to develop the idea and a
corresponding project plan and business case. The benefits of such
an approach is most important with large, complex projects where risk
must be carefully managed and weighed against benefits; however, a best
practice based process will benefit projects of all sizes. Much of
the emphasis is on doing the right things in the early phases - this is
where most mistakes are made e.g. the customer needs are not correctly
defined, the risks are not meaningfully assessed, the return on
investment calculation is overly optimistic and not backed up with
credible data, a meaningful timeline and resource plan is not developed.
Teams that do not follow such a process will often discover these
inadequacies late in the project when it is too late to kill the project
- the investment has been made. Drives involvement
of all needed functions -
Many projects require involvement of
several functions across the company to be successful. Product
development is an excellent example where tasks must be performed by
Marketing, R&D, Manufacturing Engineering, Quality, Sourcing etc.
The phase-gate process is a company process that drives all functions
needed for project success, helping to break down functional barriers.
Defines metrics to track progress and deviation from plan -
The phase-gate process should define metrics that will be used
to communicate project targets and to measure project success.
Examples would include estimates for project duration, cost, level of
risk, financial return (NPV, IRR, break even time). The level of
detail on metrics should be scaled to the type of project being managed.
Project definition and charter -
standard tools and templates to capture a definition of charter, scope
and objectives that can be adjusted for the specific type of project
being managed.Project planning
- PD-Trak guides
the project manager to develop a comprehensive project plan with
integrated simple planning tools (task plans
action item register
document templates to capture project plans) and comprehensive tools
).Team coordination -
define what needs to be done in each phase and allows team
members to be assigned to these tasks.
Progress reporting -
Assuming that the project manager maintains current data in the
PD-Trak Project File, the management team have a real time view of the
status of the project in the management reports. The Metrics
Dashboard can be used as a status reporting tool or status reporting
templates can be established and included in the project toolkit.
Business case development - PD-Trak includes tools
budget & schedule,
risk management) that guide the project manager to develop a credible business case i.e.
to assess the balance between risk and reward. This is the primary
focus of the gate review where the management team will assess this
balance and decide whether to continue to invest in the project.
Risk management - A key part of the project
manager's role is to manage risk. Many projects get derailed late
in the lifecycle because risk was not managed effectively earlier in the
project. Much of the phase-gate process is designed to help reduce
risk by doing the right things in the right sequence. In addition
PD-Trak includes a risk management tool to help the project team
identify and manage key risk areas related to the project.
Incremental management decisions -
The phases of the
stage / phase-gate process are separated by gate reviews. These
are points at which the management team assesses the project against
standard deliverables and criteria and decides whether to allow the
project to move to the next phase. Possible decisions are go (move
forwards to the next phase), kill (terminate the project), hold (place
the project on hold until resources become available)or recycle (send
the team back to do more work in the current phase). PD-Trak
and training materials
related to the gate review process.Business case assessment
- Much of the gate decision is based
on the assessment of the business case i.e. risk vs. reward.
Related tools include the financial justification
budget & schedule
worksheets.Short term resource (pipeline) management -
management team concludes that the project is sufficiently attractive to
move it to the next phase of the process, the next question is "do we
have the resources"? Care should be taken not to derail other
higher priority projects that are competing for the same resources.
PD-Trak provides resource analysis
tools that can be used to determine