Performance Execution Review for Operational Results and Maturity:
The PERFORM Framework for NPD Capability Assessment


What are the specific problems preventing your company from delivering highly reliable new technology products quickly?  Where should you invest process improvement resources?  With our PERFORM framework we can assess R&D capability maturity, strengths and weaknesses. 

To do this we complete internal interviews, assess internal process statistics, and benchmark against external data.   The result will be a clear understanding of what projects you are currently capable of undertaking and an action plan to increase this capability.  

PERFORM is a Capability Maturity Index assessment, constructed from benchmarked world-class R&D performance as defined by our work with NPD engineering and management researchers at the MIT’s Center for Innovation in Product Development.  The scale is grounded in these MIT observations of US industrial firms.  It is a rank order scale on capability and maturity of the product development organization.  The scale is calibrated as:
CM Level Interpretation
1 Below average performance, you will not remain in business
3 Average performance that is competitive
5 World-class lean six-sigma product development performance
7 Performance which cannot be sustained

The goal is level 5 maturity on all factors.  It is possible to define higher levels of performance on any one or more factors, but the research demonstrated it is simply not sustainable on all criteria.  When we constructed PERFORM, by definition doing better than level 5 maturity will cause imbalance and lower than level 5 maturity in other areas.  

In constructing PERFORM with MIT, we benchmarked companies on each of the seven categories of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award’s (MBNQA) categories, using statistically derived questions within each category. With PERFORM we decompose overall corporate NPD maturity based upon the proven MBNQA model of business process effectiveness. The MBNQA categories form the only known assessment framework statistically proven to correlate with corporate revenue. Unlike the qualitative nature of the MBNQA essay-question approach, PERFORM is a Capability Maturity Index (CMI) assessment. We assess each of the seven MBNQA categories with a set of specific questions.  Each question is ranked on a 1-7 capability maturity scale by the respondent.   

As an NPD capbility maturity assessment instrument, we combine the question results within each of the 7 categories, and again into summary rank scores on three overall measures: leadership effectiveness, information quality, and process structure.  These three scores indicate which general areas the project demonstrated effectiveness and where there is need for improvement.  The seven MBNQA category ratings and the question responses themselves provide supporting evidence.

For futher reading, see Otto, Tang and Seering, "Enabling Factors in Product Development," International Conference on Engineering Design, 2005, Sydney Australia, in our Papers.