SmartAdvice: Match Project Tools With Business Objectives And Company Culture

Project-management tools can offer real help for delivering projects on spec, on time, and on budget, The Advisory Council says. Also, RFID can help your bottom line if you use feedback promptly.
Question B: Can RFID help my company win new business?

Our advice: Yes, if your company implements processes to reduce the cycle time to learn about the success or non-success of your marketplace initiatives.

Related Links

Benefits of Connecting RFID and Lean and Six Sigma

Lean Enterprise Institute

RFID Fast-Track

Gillette recently related its experiences analyzing the impact of promotions on M3Power razors. Gillette relied on RFID data to determine precisely when promotional product was moved from the back room to store shelf. Store locations that increased on-shelf stocks with promotional packs before Sunday ads sold 48% more than stores that increased stocks after the promotion started. Since 38% of the stores were "tardy," we're talking real money here.

Over the last 30 years, companies that invest aggressively in technologies to compress the cycle time to get feedback about business results grow faster, and make more money than their peers. The best news -- there are proven practices to assure your company achieves success.

Compressing Your Feedback Cycle

  1. Develop three-to-five discrete business-outcome statements to describe the operational performance you wish to achieve.

    a. This step is critical, and flaws can lead to extra work or downright failure. It's hard to optimize if you haven't defined business success clearly in the first place.

  2. Identify the operational processes that must be executed well to succeed.
  3. Identify discrete, observable events that indicate whether processes are being executed well.

    a. This step is tough. Small teams work best. Business, process, and technology expertise are required.

    b. Be prepared to collaborate. Today, the most useful knowledge is often outside the enterprise.

  4. Model your business system.

    a. Don't over-complicate this step. Role-playing, process walk-through's, and spreadsheet analysis are often sufficient.

    b. Approximate the value of business-performance improvement.

  5. Determine your data-capture, data-aggregation, and transmission systems.

    a. Develop a strategy that starts small, and scales up as you validate your business value estimates.

Creatively applied, RFID is a great technology to find out if discrete events occurred or not. RFID makes the third step (measurement) possible in many situations where it was impossible or horribly uneconomical before. Also, fundamental standards for RFID data management are defined. This facilitates implementing data-aggregation and transmission systems across corporate boundaries, so step five becomes more feasible, too.

-- Walt DuLaney

Beth Cohen, TAC Thought Leader, has more than 20 years of experience building strong IT-delivery organizations from user and vendor perspectives. Having worked as a technologist for BBN, the company that literally invented the Internet, she not only knows where technology is today but where it's heading in the future.

Sue-Rae Rosenfeld, TAC Expert, has more than 20 years experience as an IT project manager and business analyst, primarily in the financial industry. She has special expertise in data analysis, data modeling, and converting systems into new platforms, including mainframe to Internet and intranet server environments. In addition, she trains IT professionals in project-management fundamentals and PMP exam prep. She is an active member and volunteer for the PMI New York City chapter.

Walt DuLaney, TAC Thought Leader, is an authority on the planning, design, and management of strategic business and technology initiatives. He consults extensively on strategy-alignment, project-management, and performance-measurement methods to assure that strategic initiatives are delivered successfully and operating results are verifiably improved. He is also the CEO of Adaptive RFID, an RFID software services company.