product team. This ensures objectivity in the analysis. As requirements change during design, the FMEA is updated.

Here the product is reviewed for performance objectives, components, and functional requirements that are sensitive to reliability. For instance, in the development of an avionics instrument, if the optics of an LCD screen in the instrument are critical to a pilot's understanding and use of the projected digital data, optics reliability becomes a critical reliability function. Testing is focused on the high reliability functions of the product, in this case optics. In sum, the confirmation process locks in product reliability requirements for field testing.

Contractor and partner arrangementsmust also reflect the company's reliability goals and objectives, so this activity involves a full review of contract provisions to ensure that suppliers and contractors have the capacity to meet reliability needs and will meet them as part of the contract.

Pre-prototype design review

This is the final design review before the product is entered into prototype development and full development testing. This review starts with the results of the preliminary design review and associated follow-up actions, as well as with updated technical specifications, design models, and previous FMEA assessments. These reviews are scheduled tasks on the new product project schedule and should be attended by key team members and contractors. Management needs to focus on design review so that necessary communication occurs between sometimes disparate team member functions. For instance, if the materials engineer and the FMEA engineer are not linked, a key material requirement could change without being reflected in the testing protocol.

Detailed product and component design review

Because this is the final review before testing, the review should establish and confirm the final design of the product and its performance against specifications. In other words, the product configuration under review at this point should satisfy all performance requirements.

Again, the design review is a meeting that brings together all the stakeholders in the product design. The agenda is heavily oriented to physical and engineering issues, but other problems, e.g., schedule and customer requirements, typically come up. The program manager prepares the agenda. A lead engineering facilitator leads the meeting and appropriate subject matter experts participate as needed. Drawings, documents, and graphics are projected for group review and discussion, and items are recorded for follow-up and attention during project review.

System-level design review

System level design review focuses on the whole system within which the product operates. For instance, in developing and testing the plastic grocery sack, the whole store and home environment of the customer is reviewed so that reliability requirements are traced from "bagging" to ultimate disposal in the customer home and recycling. This task requires a design engineer to produce a design issues document that would guide the preliminary design review meeting and follow-up action. This document identifies design issues, such as:

■ Size and function of critical parts, e.g., how reliable is a push button on an instrument under various conditions

■ Tolerances, making sure mechanical engineering tolerances and interfaces are reviewed

■ New technologies and testing new components, e.g., a new low voltage resistor

■ Design options and alternatives, e.g., materials The preliminary review meeting agenda includes:

■ Review of design documents, drawings, etc.

■ Design definitions

■ Review of design and functionality of product

■ Review of design issues document, e.g., potential design risks

■ Bill of materials and parts list

■ Supplier issues

■ Generation of follow-up actions and responsibilities

Prepare test protocols and facilities

While testing protocols must be accurate and link directly to requirements, it is often logistics and proper execution of testing that are the key management challenges in new product testing. Testing facilities and equipment must be scheduled and committed to the scheduling testing dates, technicians must be trained to perform the testing, and the protocols must be understandable.

Testing requires defined procedures and protocols so that test results can be documented. This task involves preparing test protocols, e.g., testing procedures and equipment. The users for these testing protocols are the test technicians, either in-house or supplier/partner personnel, who will actually conduct the tests and document results. Industry standards are often used here to assure conformance with accepted requirements. Regulatory agencies in product safety often issue testing standards to assist in effective reliability standards, particularly if the regulatory agency itself sets those standards. After product testing is completed, the root causes of any failures are analyzed, and a new design is prepared when necessary. Then the test is repeated.

Acceptance test procedure is a term used to describe how the new product test demonstrates product performance against each requirement. ATP anticipates the user acceptance of the product. The test protocol also addresses the testing report format, including the types of analyses to be conducted, the results of all analyses and tests, a summary of applicable problem reports, and how each has been resolved. The test protocol also defines when a new product is test ready, e.g., when a product in development is to be tested.

Service, logistics, and maintenance plan

This step is a key development function. This is the plan for servicing and maintaining the new product in the field. The plan includes a program for preventive maintenance and service calls based on the projected reliability standards for the product. The plan also addresses the availability of trained field support personnel to support a new product during its entire life cycle.

Final test plan

The final test plan covers all pretest, test, and test follow-up activities, including performance requirements, reliability objectives, test protocols, and FMEA analyses. The final test plan is scheduled as a key project task and milestone in support of project review.

Special project management issue: Test space and equipment

As indicated earlier, the project management issue here is not only to control the testing process, but to provide for testing facilities and space when they are called up in the schedule. This is not easy in a multiproject environment when other projects are using valuable and possibly scarce test facilities. Project managers have to pay special attention to how testing space, equipment, and technical resources are scheduled by other projects to make sure the windows for testing in the product development schedule can be used to test when scheduled. This can be a major problem in development.

Prototype development and testing process

The development and production of a new product prototype involve close collaboration between engineering or R&D and manufacturing, because the new design must be manufactured to allow testing. Some companies produce prototypes in their normal manufacturing process, but the danger here is that operators and manufacturing processes need to be changed for the new product. Because of this, it is advisable to have a separate production process in the engineering or R&D operation to product prototypes that reflects the new designs. This process will help not only to develop good prototypes for testing, but will also develop new production and assembly processes that will be necessary when the product is produced for distribution and marketing. This process should be supervised by a manufacturing engineer who bridges the gap between design and manufacturing.

Conduct Prototype Test

The development and testing of the product prototype present major technical and management challenges. From the technical standpoint, testing requires the use of a relevant testing protocol that is not always accurate, a testing capacity, and space and equipment that is often scarce and subject to many demands. From the management standpoint, the problem is the supervision of test technicians and engineers who often do not agree on the protocol or on the interpretation of results, and never on the documentation requirements.

The testing protocols serve as the basis for all prototype testing and reporting. The following steps show the prototype testing procedure.

1. Produce prototype model—The first task in the development of the prototype is to ensure that the product design has been engineered into a physical model of the product that will serve as the basis for production of the prototype units. All product, subassembly, and component specifications, tolerances, and so on must be released to configuration management for documentation, including all supplier and other contractor information on parts. A parts list is then generated.

2. Produce parts list—The parts list must be reconciled with the product breakdown structure (PBS) and configuration management system. The PBS is a hierarchy of the product components, decomposed down, e.g., the beginning of the bill of material. The configuration management system is the software that carries the official product description for the purpose of later supporting manufacture and parts inventory.

3. Produce prototype—The prototype should be manufactured in a production facility like the one that will do the production of the final product. This will create conditions for gathering information on production issues, parts and inventory problems, and assembly problems during manufacture of the prototype(s).

4. Test prototype—Actual testing is conducted by a supplier or in-house test technician staff, following prototype test plan procedures and protocols. Reports and documentation of all test operations and results are produced by the testing engineer and test technicians.

Here, again is a project management dilemma. Do you have the prototype produced by the engineering department, or is it produced in the regular manufacturing process? In new product development projects, it is important not to rely on manufacturing to produce the prototype because key lessons learned could be missed unless the process is under the control of a manufacturing engineer. On the other hand, many companies do not have a manufacturing capacity in engineering, thus making it necessary to rely on production.

Select commercial partner

Commercialization means the successful marketing and sales of the product consistent with business plans. The selection of the commercial supplier is key here because contractors are typically used in this process. The process includes stating the scope of work for selecting a commercialization partner/supplier, identifying potential suppliers, generating criteria for selection, and making the partner selection. A partner is typically used to ensure market implementation and field support, e.g., an understanding of market conditions and sales force needs.

Selection of supplier partner

The selection of the new product development and test partner/supplier is a key decision because it establishes the basis for a long-term contractor partnership that will be required to design and test the product and then move the product into commercialization. The partnership must work seamlessly; the supplier must understand company goals, objectives, and processes; work in a close relationship with the program manager and team; and serve as an extension of the project team. Thus the selection of the partner must reflect the values and goals of the company and the team.

Steps in partner selection

The following steps should be followed when selecting a partner. A qualifying partners template is shown in Table 5-7.

1. Qualify potential contractors—This process is based on the development of criteria for qualifying potential development partners, reviewing their

TABLE 5-7 Qualifying Partners Template






Proven experience

Technical competence

Product development processes


Business processes Management Contract independence

Does the company have the workforce and physical capacity to serve as a partner?

Does the company have proven experience in design in new product development?

Does the company have the technical know-how to do reliability and validation testing?

Does the company have key staff that understands new product and prototype development processes and can work within them?

Does the company have a quality improvement process?

Does the company have adequate business processes, including bench and testing systems, testing procedures, and protocols?

Does the company have reputable top and middle management, and a core of project management talent?

Is the company too dependent on outsourcing staff to be able to learn from its development work?

Review dimensions of workforce, skills mix, etc., and office and research space

Review contracts and previous work

Review previous work

Review previous work

Review company's R&D program

Review product development processes

Review resumes of key management

Review mix of in-house and contract engineering and other personnel performance in past supplier relationships, and determining which contractors should be invited to prepare proposals.

2. Request for proposal (RFP)—The request for proposal is a contractual document developed with the contracting office, and includes scope of work, concept definition, and technical specifications.

3. Screen proposals—Proposals are screened by a committee and include all key company departments. The proposal uses two basic criteria: quality and cost.

4. Selection of partner—The selection of the key partner is made by the program manager in consultation with key staff and team members.

Prepare Product Component Support Document

A new product support document is created to support the configuration management and bill of material documents. Its purpose is to go into more detail on component sources because the component supplier information can be lost if

TABLE 5-8 Sample Template for Component Document

Product Technical Equipment Drawings and part Manufacturing and Component component requirements and parts numbers assembly manuals sources



Reference technical Part specifications definitions

Reference product Reference drawings and part numbers, e.g., specification, equipment, drawing, serial, manufacturer, and change order manufacturing engineering manual

Reference suppliers, sources, and parts numbers left to the supplier. In other words, to preserve key information on components, suppliers cannot be trusted to have and hold information that may be needed in the future simply because contracts were written to provide that information. This document preserves information in-house to support production and inventory, as well as logistics and product support. Table 5-8 shows a sample template for the component breakdown.

Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment is conducted in the development phase. The process begins with a full review of each system, subsystem, and component, and asks the questions, "what can go wrong; what are the risk issues, probability, severity, and impact; and what contingency plan must be created to either prevent or respond to the risk?"

Changes are likely in the product design and plans since the concept stage and the first risk assessment were conducted. Therefore, the risk assessment plan needs to be updated at this point in time. Updates will include new anticipated task/risk events, impacts and implications of risks, views of probabilities, impact assessments, and contingency plans. A broader view is taken of the business risk of the product, as well; for example, "how will the product affect the business brand and image?"

The task involves a full review and analysis of the original risk assessment, interviews with all parties to the design and development process including appropriate suppliers, and a listing of new issues and risk events. An updated risk assessment is then prepared, highlighting changes and new issues. The final product should be distributed to key staff and suppliers, especially those who will participate in beta testing. Each risk is documented in a risk matrix as shown in Table 5-9.

Risk assessment includes the development of contingency plans to address identified risks. While risks are identified by the project team, contingencies

TABLE 5-9 Sample Risk Matrix Template

Product and/or

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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