Before we’re going to take a closer look at internal benchmarking in project management, here’s a quick reminder of the definition of benchmarking:
Benchmarking is used to assess your own organization’s processes and performance compared to your company’s competitors or compared to the best companies in your industry. This method is used in project management to improve the organization’s project management methods and processes, or to compare internal projects to each other to identify what the most successful projects have in common (keyword “lessons learned”)."
Internal benchmarking in project management enables you to improve your project management methods and processes. It works as follows: First, you choose a benchmark project, i.e. a particularly successful project. Then compare this successful project with your other projects and identify the differences between them. Based on these insights, develop and implement improvement measures. The aim is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your projects and increase the quality of your project management.
How to perform an internal benchmark in project management
1. Select benchmark object
As we’ve already mentioned, the first step is to identify a particularly successful project that will serve as your baseline. This benchmark object can be a project that has been successfully completed, or it could be a process or project management process thanks to which the project team could complete the project successfully.
2. Select comparison object
The next step is to select the projects you want to compare with the benchmark project. You can look at a few projects, or compare all your remaining projects with the best practice example.
3. Collect data
Collecting data for internal benchmarking is much easier than for external benchmarking, since all the information is available in-house. Collect all the necessary project data from your project archives and survey your project managers to get first-hand information and data. Remember to collect data from the benchmark object as well as the comparison objects. Only then will you be able to make an accurate comparison.
4. Identify performance gaps and causes
After collecting the necessary data, it’s time to compare the data. Focus on finding performance gaps, i.e. in which aspects is the benchmark object superior to the other analyzed projects. Then find the causes for the occurrence of these performance gaps, such as an understaffed project team or calculating budgets too tightly.
5. Develop and implement improvement measures
Develop a plan to improve your projects based on the identified gaps and causes. The goal is to improve your existing projects so that they’re on the same level as the benchmark project. It’s important to remember that benchmarking is always part of a continuous improvement process. You should constantly check your projects for existing and new performance gaps compared to the competition, this will enable you to reach a high degree of efficiency.