The current method for auditing and tracking the performance of projects, programmes and enterprises is becoming increasingly unsuitable. Traditional independent project performance evaluations take time and disrupt business-as-usual. They are often performed when performance has taken a noticeable dip and are therefore used to identify causes of failure. They deliver a one-off report of performance based on the best data available at the time. Tracking performance as a project matures runs the risk of moving focus from the technical end goal to the satisfaction of performance measures. Additionally, as project, programme and enterprises increase in complexity, traditional performance tracking does not necessarily get to the hub of the issues.
We see considerable gains from the synergy of performance evaluation and continual tracking. We believe that qualitative system dynamics models hold the key to this, allowing persistence of analysis that can easily be frequently altered to track performance and independently interrogated to verify the specific programming of the data. Moreover, as both of these activities contribute to the accuracy of the model, the time and cost of the effort required for each activity reinforces the quality of the outcomes of the other.
This research presents the initial steps on the journey to creating a framework that, with the aid of qualitative system dynamics, can be used to both track and audit project performance. As such, it is concerned with testing the hypothesis that it is possible to create a system dynamics model of a performance audit that can be used to provide adequate recommendations for performance improvement. Using the Bernard Gray report of defence procurement as a test case, it creates a qualitative system dynamics models, examines the causal loops found within, and uses these to create recommendations for improvement. These recommendations from the models are then compared with those that the Gray report initially devised, and a view to the utility of this approach created
Additional information: A preprint document submitted to the 29th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Washington DC, USA, July 24-28, 2011
Sponsorship: This work is supported by the EPSRC funded Industrial Doctorate Centre in Systems (EP/G037353/1)
- system dynamics, defence, document analysis, strategy, performance tracking, qualitative system dynamics, performance evaluation