A framework for developing portfolios of improvements projects in manufacturing

Flow Quality management
The outcome of improvement programmes such as Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma is only partially determined by the success or failure of its individual projects. Also of significance is how well the programme and its projects are aligned to the company's strategy. Frequently practitioners will select projects on their individual merits, rather than with proper reference to their contribution to business strategy. In this manner, it is therefore possible to build portfolios of projects that are at best suboptimal and at worst counter to the company's overall strategic direction. The construction of project portfolios is thus a critical step in effective programme management and this would suggest that organizations would benefit from a framework to assist them with the selection of projects and portfolios that are aligned with the company's overall strategy. While tools such as Critical to Quality Flow-down are available to translate the voice of the customer to metrics and goals, practitioners do not have a structured approach to construct and assess portfolios. In this paper we present a framework to assist programme managers to develop portfolios of improvement projects targeted to fulfil their company's strategic needs and also align with the organisation's objectives and measures. Consideration is given to quantitative and qualitative aspects of strategy and how these may best be related to provide a set of orthogonal and common metrics.
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