At the end of his tenth project plan review meeting, Dinesh, the head of delivery at Infosys at the time, was not very happy. In review after review of project plans, Dinesh had noted that each project manager was working in a world of his own, valiantly struggling to create optimum processes to execute his project and to produce estimates that he could meet this even though Dinesh knew that similar projects had been executed earlier by other teams whose experience and data could considerably ease the project manager's pain. Not only were the project managers investing their planning effort in reinventing the wheel, but also they were "planning" to make the same mistakes as the project managers before them. Dinesh realized that the answer to this predicament lay in creating an institutional memory that would be accessible to all project managers.
The million dollar question was how to build this institutional memory and use it to mold an infrastructure for project planning. What were its elements? How should past experience be systematically recorded and made available for reuse? How could Infosys keep the infrastructure current?
This chapter discusses the key elements of the planning infrastructure at Infosys: the process database, the process capability baseline, and the process assets. In later chapters you will see how these elements are used in project planning.
The process database (PDB) captures the performance data of completed projects. The process capability baseline (PCB) summarizes the performance across projects. It thereby specifies quantitatively the range of results that have been obtained by following the processes, and therefore the range of results to be expected if the same processes are followed. Process assets are documents such as checklists, templates, methodologies, and lessons learned materials that capture past experience and help project managers and engineers use the processes effectively. These components are usually present in high-maturity organizations, although their use in these organizations differs.1