Process Definition & Improvement

Having a well-defined, but streamlined product development process is important. Relying an an ad-hoc approach or process is not efficient.  An ad-hoc process forces development personnel to re-create a process and plan each time and forces project team members to re-learn the process and project expectations on each new project.

We have experienced four situations where we can help an organization define and improve its product development process.

  • The organization lacks a well-defined process and project teams essentially recreate the process for each project.
  • The organization has a process but it lacks missing elements causing issues with projects and the resulting products.
  • The organization has processes that were created by each functional area, but they are not well-integrated. This leads to lack of effective coordination and management.
  • The organization has a well-defined process but it is to rigid and takes too long to execute.

We can help define, integrate or improve your product development process.  Our extensive experience across many industries and with identifying best practices positions us to very effectively work with you to define or improve your process.

If your organization’s issue is a process that is too rigid and time-consuming, we can help streamline or lean out your process by applying best practices and lean product development principles and practices.

We offer the two basic consulting approaches. The first approach to is more effective when there is a need to improve or better integrate the product development process.  We would start by conducting an assessment and reviewing your existing process.  We can undertake a formalized Product Development Assessment or conduct a less formal review of your process to identify the issues and opportunities. We can then undertake to suggest and define needed improvements to your process. This general process improvement or process reengineering approach is illustrated below.

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The second approach is to conduct a Process Definition Workshop with key people in your organization. This workshop would start by defining your phases and gate reviews. Then we would facilitate this group to define the tasks, deliverables and responsibilities in each phase. We can facilitate the workshop group identify process shortcomings and investigate fixes and improvements. We can suggest improvements and approaches based on our experience assisting other companies improve their business processes. We can 1.) serve as a sounding board for this group to discuss their ideas, 2.) provide an objective viewpoint to mediate differences of opinion, 3.) insure this group is not unnecessarily placing constraints on themselves, 4.) champion the improvements in the face of organizational resistance, and 5.) insure this group is going far enough with their process improvement efforts. Read more on the Process Definition Workshop.

Our philosophy is to work through your personnel to achieve commitment to the changes. We can then assist with developing an implementation plan, conducting training, implementing the improvements, and monitoring the results. The improved results through our assistance will pay for itself many times over.

For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates