Follow a defined development process and work breakdown structure

Project management is a generic management system laid on a technical or product development process. If that development process is not defined in terms of the technology and language of the product or service, good project management practices will be wasted. This is both the strength and weakness of project management systems. Such systems focus on quality, resources, and time management, but sometimes these systems cannot alone carry a new product development project with a complex technical process. Projects must have strong subject matter experts doing the technical work. For instance, good, scrubbed project schedules are important, but they must be built around generic work breakdown structures tailored to the product or service being developed. A work breakdown structure for electronic instrument development is quite different from a work breakdown structure for a new telecommunications product. But the project manager is the facilitator of the process, pressing for a useful and workable WBS and keeping the customer involved through email and Internet pathways on progress in defining the product.

To the extent possible, scheduled work will be broken down into tasks, which are defined and specified. For instance, for a product development process, the basic structure of it is specified to four levels:

■ Stage: These are generic development activities in the project management system, e.g., summary tasks in the schedule structure, including customer requirements, concept development, detailed design, prototype development, design validation, product transition, and manufacturing

■ Project/Phase level: This is the next level of development, tailored to specific project phase features

■ Systems: This is the product systems or functional systems level, defining how parts integrate with each other to produce product functionality

■ Task: This is the operating component level, where work packages are put together and achieved through individual or small team activity serving as the basis for design reviews

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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