Case Study: Enabling Optimizations to Propel Technical Innovations

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The European Leader in Naval Defense recently embarked on a transformation program to improve the planning and management of key initiatives for the research arm of their group. The company made its operational performance a top priority, with it’s Research team pivotal to supporting the groups’ unwavering commitment to ensuring delivery lead times, costs and quality by furthering developments of innovative solutions for advanced technical performance.

MI-GSO | PCUBED was engaged to develop and deploy a management system, along with the development of a methodology for project management for the Research and Development department.  With no stable method of planning and no consistent tools in place, the team lacked the ability to ensure the business was doing the right projects aligned to the strategic objectives of the group. 

Furthermore, management lacked visibility into resource commitments and delivery timelines.  Based on the team’s extensive experience and knowledge of the organization, the team quickly identified simple tools and guidelines to fit the unique requirements of the Research and Development department.

MI-GSO | PCUBED, utilizing a lean approach to Capability Development, focused on increasing the level of maturity within the organization. This enabled teams to highlight key problems and report progress to management, facilitating optimization of its most precious technological resources and maximizing value to the organization.

The Lean Approach to Capability Development:

#1: Define

A rapid mobilization of simple tools and guidelines, compliant with Group methodology providing guidance for consistent, repeatable delivery across the department.

#2: Deliver

An accurate assessment of status and forecasted effort to complete in flight studies, enabling control and facilitating effective decision-making.

#3: Operate

An optimization across an integrated portfolio of current and future projects to ensure resource capacity allocated towards initiatives achieving maximum strategic value.

The team set out to establish a base foundation for consistent planning, and then once in place, build plans for the various projects in the current Research portfolio. However there was no method to control a project or estimate accurately.  The team developed a guide for the methodology and rolled out training across the projects.  All projects are now evaluated and compared using a standard set of criteria for performance.  And, the managers now have access to complete and accurate information on the projects, with an understanding of which projects would be delivered late and for some, not at all.

With a sharper focus on operational performance, the organization tightened budgeting and resourcing.  Without a clear understanding on how studies were aligned to business strategy or well defined upfront objectives, there was no sure way to negotiate for the remaining budget and resources required to deliver an in flight study.

To assist, our project managers established a “forward view”  for the management team, clarifying what resources would be required (and budget) to deliver all the current and future (fiscal year) projects within the department.  The team along with management, then optimized the portfolio of projects based on current capacity, identifying projects to be canceled based on strategic alignment, saving the department millions.

Establishment of a process to review demand on a regular basis, ensured that the management team has the governance in place to support both short term and long term resource budgeting, forecasting and scheduling. With an enhanced management system in place, the teams are able to highlight key problems, risks, and report on progress on a monthly basis.

The management team is now more secure, demonstrating an increased level of project management maturity with over 85% of projects within the portfolio with validated plans.

The Research team had the objective to increase the Intellectual Property of the Group while controlling the cost, maximizing the value to the organization.  Most importantly they have the people, in addition to the process and tools implemented, to deliver on that objective, along with the ability to optimize the portfolio of projects based on the budget allocated and the technical innovation to be achieved for the investment. 

The MI-GSO | PCUBED team continued to make advancements in the project management system, driving enhancements throughout the rest of the Research group, allowing the Research team to focus on driving innovation in advanced technical performance and delivering their most complex initiatives.

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