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Project performance  > Metrics and Benchmarking

Benchmarking and implementation of the measurement program
In order to increase the organization’s capacity to maximize return on IT projects and be able to manage projects effectively, we propose an approach based on the best industry practices. This approach should:

  1. Reduce development costs and maximize value
  2. Improve productivity and efficiency of IT processes
  3. Improve customer satisfaction.

This process is completely transparent, result-based and approved in practice. As explained below, it is composed of three parts. To fully exploit the benefits of this approach, we recommend that it be realized in its entirety. However, each part of the approach may be performed separately..

Performance Benchmarking

When we speak of performance, the first thing to know is: What is our current level of performance?
To answer this question, we propose an approach based on internal and external benchmarking. Internal benchmarking is supposed to analyze the various projects and compare the performance of these projects together. The external evaluation will compare the performance of our projects with the projects in organizations similar to yours.
The expected results are:

  1. Productivity of your projects expressed in unit costs
  2. Comparative results between the performance of your projects and the factors that influence these results
  3. Comparative results between the performance of your projects and projects in the best industry organizations and the causes of the eventual gaps
  4. Your project development process’ productivity model based on variable costs and non-variable costs (fixed costs)
Benchmarking of Best Practices 

In order to provide an analysis of the causes of poor performance and to recommend solutions, the results of the performance benchmarking must be accompanied by a parallel analysis of project management and development processes. The benchmarking of best practices is supposed to indicate whether and how you use the best practices in project management and software development. This assessment is based on CMMI for evaluation of project management practices and/or SWEBOK (Software Engineering Body of Knowledge, ISO TR-19760), for the evaluation of software development practices. To perform a comparative analysis of the best practices, we use questionnaires adapted to your environment and your vocabulary.
Based on the results of the benchmarking, we can help you identify weaknesses and areas that represent improvement opportunities, and then we can make the appropriate recommendations.

The expected results:

  1. Results of the quality of the processes indicating whether and how your organization applies the best practices in project management and software development; 
  2. The identification and diagnostic of practices and weak areas and recommendations to improve the performance;
  3. A cross-analysis of the results of this phase with the results of performance benchmarking to confirm the results.

First, standardize the measures

If we look at any performance measurement system, we can notice that four measures (metrics) return constantly: the project scope or size, efforts, schedule and quality. At the same time, we can say that these four measures are the minimum of a performance measurement system in software development.

So, the standardization of these measures and their availability is a prerequisite for the success of benchmarking and the measurement program. While measures of effort and duration are usually available in most organizations (it is still necessary to standardize them), the main problem is the lack of measures for software size. To measure software size, we recommend the COSMIC method, a functional size measure, that is a standardized measure (ISO) and that becomes increasingly used in the industry. This measure can be collected manually for purposes of benchmarking, but it is highly recommended to find a way to automate the calculation (see our estimating tool).

Réalisation du Benchmarking

Both projects (Benchmarking and Performance Measurement Program) can be performed either sequentially or in parallel. Whatever solution is chosen, it is best to complete the Benchmarking before entering the implementation phase of a Measurement Program, because the results of the benchmarking can help you to better orient the Program. 

It is also recommended to carry out certain preliminary activities that are essential to both projects. These activities involve the standardization of measures such as the efforts, project duration, size, etc. An example of standardization is given in the pageIndicators and Dashboards".

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