Concept development

Following initial process analysis, the initial concept phase involves the flushing out of alternative project ideas and opportunities after full immersion in the customer's key processes and product/service mix. Here is the point where issues and needs are translated into conceptual solutions and potential project ideas. A conceptual solution is an idea that shapes a need into a working vision. For instance, a customer may see a particular product serving a particular need; the concept is a visual picture of that product actually serving a customer need.

The ideal setting for concept development is a collaborative process involving the customer and the project team, sharing information and collectively exploring potential projects and benefits. This is where new technologies are born, through the stimulation of project teams interacting with customer representatives to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

Concept development draws on QFD tools, addressed earlier in this chapter. QFD translates needs and expectations to design concepts, which can be detailed later into product and service specifications. The key issue here is that concept development is a group activity conducted through brainstorming and other group techniques. Brainstorming provides a forum for identifying alternative ideas and concepts and prioritizing them so that the customer can make decisions to proceed with the best possible project concepts. Brainstorming is facilitated by the project team and starts with the information gained in process improvement and immersion in the customer's business.

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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