An Eclectic Undertaking

Involving total design and development from scratch, Viper would have pre * sented a classic project management challenge, even if Chrysler had taken; traditional approach to the program. However, not content to develop eacl high-performance component in record time, Chrysler was determined t< stretch the parameters of vehicle design and construction processes at th same time. Achieving the individual goals established for each componen and simultaneously implementing innovative technologies heaped addition al pressure on the project management function to ensure that all element moved ahead in a coordinated fashion. The Viper team pioneered several at tomotive innovations for a mass market vehicle:

• Engine. Less than a year after the formation of the engine feasibilit team, Chrysler had its first 8.0 liter V-10 test engine. Timely completio was essential for development of the transmission and other components.

• Transmission. Accomplishing a five- to six-year task in just eightee months, the Viper team produced a Jekyll-and-Hyde six-speed manual bo: capable of unleashing the full torque of the engine to achieve 0-60 acceler; tion in 4.5 seconds, or of smooth gear changes that permit the Viper to 1 classified as an "easy shifter."

• Frame. The team rejected conventional-stamped steel construction, s lecting tubular steel which offered significant time savings without compr mising strength.

• Body. In search of a better and less labor-intensive panel constructic process, the Viper team developed Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) on tl Viper. The first car in the United States market with the majority of its bo< panels, inner and outer, produced using the RTM process, the technoloj produces panels that are 40 percent tighter than conventional-stamped she metal parts, without sacrificing strength or safety. The RTM process offe significant quality improvement over established synthetic panel-formii processes, including greater durability and improved quality of finish.

RTM has slashed the retooling lead time associated with changes in body styling. This will allow Chrysler to respond more rapidly to emerging consumer tastes.

• Brakes. Slowing a vehicle from 100 mph to rest in less than five seconds would require an extraordinary braking system. The team developed a four-pot (piston) caliper front brake disc system—usually only seen on race cars— along with ventilated rear, single-piston slider brakes.

The project management software provided the communications network that assured the program's success, working both on the micro level within each component, and on the macro scale, to ensure that critical linkages between elements were made according to plan.

The first Vipers that were scheduled to arrive in May 1992 were all spoken for before they even arrived at dealers. Beyond the glitz and sheen of a new sports car roll-out, the Viper program established new standards for excellence at Chrysler. End-to-end, enterprise-wide project management has proven itself as an essential ingredient in the corporation's recipe for success. "At today's Chrysler, budgets are tight and adhered to," says Sjoberg. "Though there was a learning curve associated with Prestige's logic and systems operations, consistent with our long run philosophy, the investment has been well worth the pay off," he notes.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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