Assessing the feasibility of a new product

INTEGRATED PRODUCT TEAMS

Kenneth Crow
DRM Associates

2002 DRM Associates  All rights reserved. May be used with attribution. Other use prohibited.

Paper on IPTs
Product Development Forum
NPD Body of Knowledge
DRM Associates

1. What are they?

IPTs are the organizational structure resulting from Concurrent Engineering (CE), Integrated Product Development (IPD) or Lean Product Development (LPD) implementation. IPT membership is made up of multi-functional stakeholders working together with a product-oriented focus. This team is empowered to make critical life cycle decisions for the development of a product or system. Because the product or system development activities change and evolve over its life, team membership and leadership will likewise evolve. While Marketing personnel, Product Managers, Project Managers and Design Engineers may be the most prominent members early in the life cycle, Design Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Quality Engineers and Procurement gain a bigger voice during detailed design. Test Engineering and Quality Engineering has the lead role during product test and validation. Marketing and Manufacturing has the lead role during product launch phase. There may then be smaller sustaining IPT's made up of Design Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Quality Engineers and Procurement personnel that are put in place to support the product and undertake any changes over the life of the product.

2. Why are they important?

IPT's are the basis of organizing development personnel to enable Concurrent Engineering, Integrated Product Development (IPD), or Lean Product Development. They are created for the express purpose of developing and delivering a product or service to their customer(s). Implementation of IPD represents a transition from a functional stovepipe focus to a customer product focus. Teamwork within the framework of IPD drives the functional and product disciplines into a mutually reinforcing relationship which helps remove barriers to the IPT success.

3. When are they used?

IPT's are applied at various levels ranging from the overall structure of an organization to informal groups functioning across existing units. The purpose of an IPT is to bring together all the functions that have a stake in the performance of a product/process and concurrently make integrated decisions affecting that product or process. The teams can be created, formed, and their talents applied at all levels of the organization ranging from the overall structure of the organization to ad hoc teams that address specific problems.

4. What are the key characteristics?

  • Team is established to produce a specific product or service.
  • Multidisciplinary - all team members/functions working together towards a common goal.
  • Members have mutual, as well as individual accountability
  • Integrated, concurrent decision-making
  • Empowered to make decisions within specific product or service goals and project parameters (budget, schedule, and business results).
  • Planned integration among teams towards system goals.