With the objective of time-to-market, one question to consider is how tightly integrated your development process, system tools and organization are. We find that in many organizations that these are areas where improvements can be made. Better integration of the process, plans, organization and tools can reduce time to market and improve the effectiveness of the development project. We can investigate the following areas to identify opportunities for improvement in time to market and development cost.
There are several areas to investigate to identify ways to better integrate and tighten up project schedules. One of the most significant factors affecting project schedules is overloaded resources trying to support too many projects. (Read more on how our services with Managing Project Resources can address this.) Second, we often see technical leads trying to split their time between managing a project and providing technical leadership. As a result, the project management functions don’t receive adequate attention and the project can incur schedule delays. We can helped establish a Project Management Office (PMO) or help train and develop project managers. Third, Critical Chain Project Management (read more) provides an approach which has enabled reductions in project schedules. We can help put the methodology in place and identify supporting tools.
There are often opportunities to streamline and better integrate the product development process. We can help identify non-value-added process steps and suggest more effective ways to accomplish development objectives. We can introduce lean product development practices. We can perform analysis to identify development tasks taking a long time and examine opportunities to reduce cycle time.
Often projects end up going through multiple design, build and test iterations late in the development cycle. We can identify what is causing this and suggest ways to reduce the number of iterations through early simulation and analysis, early prototyping, and early involvement and feedback from disciplines such as reliability engineering, manufacturing, service and procurement.
A significant opportunity to speed time to market is for the project team or integrated product team to collaborate and coordinate effectively. We can assess the team dynamics and offer suggestions to overcome any impediments that may hinder rapid progress.
A final area to consider to better integrate and speed up development activities are the system tools such as CAD, CAE, CAM and PLM used by the development team. Are these being effectively used to share a digital product model with a minimum of manipulation? Is paper used to communicate product information or for sign-off effectively slowing down the process? We can assess how well tools are integrated and used and identify opportunities for more effective use.
For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates