In my previous article, we established some high-level objectives for lean product development as follows:
- Better understand the customer (maximize customer value)
- Do the right projects (product, project and portfolio value analysis)
- Do projects right (minimize waste and rework)
- Level load the organization (minimize bottlenecks and resource constraints)
- Create and re-use artifacts (standardize and sustain best practices)
These might be considered “enterprise” level objectives…some or all of the objectives might be part of a product development organizational strategy depending on it’s size or number of product development projects.
Some tools and methodologies that enable lean product development include:
- Project Portfolio Management (Project Selection Process)
- Project Governance Structure
- Product Development Phase and Gate Structure (Product Life Cycle Process)
- Requirements Management (Requirements Value Analysis, Requirements Validation)
- Design for Six Sigma (Optimized Designs)
- Product and Project Financial Estimating Tools / Templates
- Project Management (including resource Management)
- Develop and Re-Use Artifacts
- Agile Product Development
Although it’s a somewhat long list, it is tailor-able to any size organization. For example, a small organization might benefit from a technical project manager who can facilitate a lean process and reduce overall product development risk. A large organization might pursue more substantial resources and tools/infrastructure, like a project management operating system.
A comprehensive needs analysis for your organization might be revealing….do you have too many projects? projects that weren’t ultimately successful? resource constraints? high risk of design rework? sub-optimized designs? inadequate product margins? difficult-to-manufacture products?
An alternative approach might begin with some awareness of tools and methodologies….define what lean enterprise product development is and down-select the elements of lean that will be most beneficial.
Either way, there is likely ample opportunity to reduce design risks and/or streamline your product development process. In the next series of articles we’ll further define each of these potential initiatives.