Newsletter Article - Breaking down Business Objectives to Drive your Company!
Software Quality Center LLC is a reputed partner of the CMMI Institute. We have been using CMMI® to help elevate performance for over 15 years and have seen the value of the models to deliver measurable results for our Clients/Organizations. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the CMMI Institute to extend the reach of the CMMI® frameworks to enable individuals and organizations to reach their goals.
We are pleased to share articles written by our Consultants, which you will enjoy reading and enjoy as a take-away for your everyday meetings and knowledge. It is also a great way to reinforce concepts of quality in your organization's staff in everyday meetings!
Breaking down Business Objectives to Drive your Company
A successful business is said to be when the profits are seen to be high. Every business house measures and monitors results at defined intervals. Every layer in the company contributes to these numbers. A lot of money is spent in crunching the numbers where experts analyse, predict and strategize to get a satisfactory turnover.
Each business starts off with setting the business objectives, this gives a direction to everyone as to what to achieve and what is important to the management. The game gets challenging for the Quality team when these business objectives need to be broken down into measurable and meaningful data. The crux of the Quality Management System that consists of policies, procedures and work instructions, should begin with the breaking down of the business objectives. The Quality Department can use various methods to derive and arrive at measurements and metrics for various departments. Quantitative data always helps the organization monitor the objectives better and projects get driven by data rather than by the efficiency of the Project Manager and Team. Most of the times, there are several metrics and measurements that the Quality Department defines which projects although collect, but do not find any use for the same. Every process that is defined needs to have some indicator to see the effectiveness of the process and this should be monitored constantly. Many a times it is observed that processes do not have measurements at all, this becomes difficult to measure the process and subsequently, improvements are hampered.
A good Quality Department should work towards an effective and efficient QMS that consists of maybe few metrics and measurements but those should be linked to the Business Objectives, The Senior Management should be a part of this exercise since they will want to see some numbers and how to interpret it to Department/ Project metrics is a very crucial function of the Quality Department. There can be 3 - 4 metrics that can be made mandatory for all the projects which are directly linked to the Business Objectives and the rest of the metrics should be left at the discretion of the project and its objectives.
Businesses have grown beyond just supplying to a demand, today, the challenge is satisfying a customer, retaining the customer and getting recommended for the superior quality of the product or service. Most organizations more or less have these as their business objectives. So, some of the metrics that may be relevant could be customer satisfaction and costs. Making these as broad and mandatory measurements and metrics, it can be further broken down into project metrics like for time and material projects, it may be no. of requests delivered against no. of requests made or no. of requests accepted in the first delivery or no. of requests with 0 external defects etc.
Another example of breaking down business objective of containing costs in projects can be by measuring rework efforts or time spent in communication or cutting down operating costs etc.
Every data that a project and department generates should be used to measure some aspect of the project and Project Managers should carefully choose which metrics will help them run their projects successfully. The Quality Department in turn should interpret this data and point towards which objective these are affecting. The progress of each objective thus must be shown to the Senior Management. This will greatly influence the way the processes are followed and data is collected and used. Thus, breaking down the business objectives is one of the most crucial tasks that any organization benefits from.
Lakshmi Menon (Sr. Consultant -SQC): She has over 10 years of experience in the Information Technology industry with a wide range of skills in the area of quality, especially in CMM and CMMI with a proven record of accomplishments. She has been employed in companies in the capacities of SQA, Auditor, Senior Auditor, SEPG Lead and ATM. She has achieved the CMM and CMMI Level 5 appraisals for the organizations she worked. She has been involved in project management, defining and maintaining the Quality Management System, implementing the processes and training the people on quality.