6.3 Researching Appropriate Benchmarks

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Webster defines Benchmark as ‘‘a point of reference from which measurements

may be made; something that serves as a standard by which others may be

measured.’’

Benchmarks, in the business world, are results achieved by enterprises, companies,

corporations, etc., and are held up as standards for that particular application,

function, etc. The use of the term ‘‘Benchmark’’ in industry means that

benchmarks are the highest value achieved for that particular function in that

particular business area. Therefore, that Benchmark is (or should be) a goal for

others in the same business area to achieve. Reviewing benchmarks is akin to

employing the old adage of ‘‘not reinventing the wheel.’’ If another company in

your business area has already solved a problem and created a process and a

metric that indicates success, why not use it? Some companies hold their benchmarks

(read successes) close to their chests, and discovering them may be difficult.

Several organizations have been created for the purpose of sharing benchmarks.

One such organization is the Project Management Benchmarking Network.

They can be reached at:

Project Management Benchmarking Network

4606 FM 1960 West

Suite 250

Houston, TX 77069

Phone: 281-440-5044

Fax: 281-440-6677

Web site: www.pmbn.org

According to their Web site, ‘‘The Project Management Benchmarking Network

(PMBN) is currently a free association of Project Management organizations

within major corporations. PMBN conducts benchmarking studies to

identify practices that improve the overall operations of the members.’’

Additionally:

Best Practices, LLC

6320 Quadrangle Dr., Suite 200

Chapel Hill, NC 27514-7815

Phone: 919-403-0251

Fax: 919-403-0144

E-mail: best@best-in-class.com

Use these recommended methodologies as you see fit. You may or may not

need them all. The point is to expand the constituents of your cause database

so that it reflects the milieu in which you and your project or program operate.

One thing to remember though is that just because some company has created

or holds claim to a ‘‘Benchmark’’ doesn’t mean that is an absolute. It is

entirely possible that another ‘‘Benchmark’’ of higher order or greater quality,

etc., could be found . . . and you could find it!