Business leaders are challenged to increase yields and product quality while lowering costs and cycle times. The realism inherent in determining the three project parameters of cost, quality, and time to market can largely affect a project’s perceived success or failure. To be successful, an organization must have a basis for competitive advantage.
• Identifying factors that inhibit successful program outcome. Project Management’s key goal is to ensure that the constraints of cost, quality, and time remain in equilibrium as they bear a direct relationship with one another. Increasing scope usually necessitates modifying cost and schedule. Decreasing cost or schedule necessitates modifying the scope. While it’s important to include resource estimates, task precedence, and task duration to tailor the process to the project plan’s unique requirements, the impact of coordination efforts, number of iterations, and rework are key criteria that need to be factored in, but are typically overlooked.
• Key competitive dimensions: cost, quality, time to market. Cost involves getting a product to market at the lowest cost or highest product value. This requires additional time and development costs to optimize product cost and the manufacturing process. Quality focuses on assuring high levels of product quality, reliability, and robustness. This requires additional time and cost for planning, testing, analysis, and regulatory approvals. Time to market is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until it’s available for sale. This is important in industries where products are outmoded quickly or for first-of-a kind products.
• Methods to improve cost, quality, and time to market. Today, a competitive marketplace puts high demand on a company’s ability to bring products and services to market quickly. Ultimately, cost reflects performance in all areas; therefore, cost control shouldn’t be mere accounting of costs but monitoring all components and ensuring project completion at an optimal cost. Scientific improvement methods to improve cost, quality, and time to market include pushing down decision making to the lowest competent level; reducing repetitive tasks that require multiple iterations; eliminating redundant tasks performed in multiple departments or by multiple people; identifying and reducing time-wasting activities; understanding the interaction of components and optimize a design sequence that minimizes rework; aligning cross-team communication policies with component design interdependence requirements; and postponing designing components that have the highest probability of change.
• Current industry trends. Business the world over is becoming more turbulent. New technologies are changing faster than ever and competitors keep introducing new products. In this scenario, management’s ability to change course without much disruption is crucial. Managers are finding critical leverage points for activities that produce disproportionate benefit for the time invested. It follows that integrated product development practices, gap analysis, and time to market are key in competitive success and are worth investing in. Beyond these obvious investments, many companies invest effort in the development system itself to sustain their pursuit of faster product development. IBI