Quality and Process Improvement

The purpose of this chapter is to link new product development to quality and process improvement. New products create new processes and new business risks, and therefore new product development initiatives open up opportunities for continuous improvement and associated Six Sigma projects.

Six Sigma is a measure of quality that drives an organization to achieve near perfection through a management-by-fact and data-driven process that defines a defect as anything outside customer specifications. A defect in Six Sigma terms is six standard deviations between the mean and nearest specification limit. In new product development this process is often called DMADC (define, measure, analyze, design, verify), an improvement program used to develop new products and new processes at Six Sigma levels. The objective is to target customer requirements—nothing more and nothing less. The company goal is to avoid wasteful and expensive rework and processes, and produce a product as close to specification as possible the first time.

One application of this quality concept is called integrated test management. New product processes require complete test coverage and tracking systems to ensure that issues associated with the product that are discovered in testing are evaluated and resolved. This requires traceability, the capacity to link every performance specification with a test and data point. The point is to ensure that new products meet stated requirements and functional standards set by customer need.

The focus of quality in new product development is to get the customer requirement right because it drives everything else. Quality is not the highest performance you can achieve; it is what the customer "requirements." Looking at new products this way, you see new product development from the customer's perspective and recognize that the risk is not only that the product will not

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meet customer requirements, but also that you will get the customer requirements wrong to begin with. As the major stakeholder and the project sponsor, the customer/client pays the price at the end of a project if these risks are not well managed.

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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