Sustainable Competitive Advantage Introduction - Strategic Planning for Project Management

To spend time and money developing a project management methodology because you believe it is the right thing to do is a wasted effort. The better approach is to develop a methodology with the intent of converting it into a sustainable competitive advantage. A sustainable competitive advantage not only placates your customers, it also puts pressure on your competitors to spend money to compete with you.

Sustainable competitive advantages can be determined for individual functional areas rather than for the entire company. As an example, consider Figure below, which illustrates the efforts needed to achieve a sustained competitive advantage in research and development (R&D). As a company advances through the various stages of innovation, the technical risks will increase. The organization must have developed a good approach to the problem of assessing technical risks and must be willing to admit when a project should be cancelled because the resources could be allocated more effectively on other projects. Maintaining a competitive advantage requires a continuous stream of new and/or enhanced products or services. Risk management is an essential ingredient in the evaluation process.

R&D Efforts for a sustained competitive advantage:

R&D Efforts for a sustained competitive advantage

As technical risks increase, so does the amount of money expended, as well as the requirement for superior technical ability. The technical skills required increase as we go from basic to applied research and on through development. Although some people may argue about the need for this increase in skill levels, the fact remains that a product that can be developed on a small laboratory bench may never be able to be mass-produced or, even if it can be mass-produced, the quality may have to be degraded. Also, it is in development where one finally obtains the hard numbers as to whether the product can be manufactured at a competitive price.

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