The multimedia and computer industries of the 1990s were fraught with uncertainty and turbulence. Major changes in standards, customer requirements, and technological possibilities may happen on a monthly or even a weekly basis, a time scale much shorter than even the fastest development project. Ability to manage the changes, uncertainty and at the same time being able to deliver with reduced time to market provides a distinct competitive advantage. The product development processes and management practices created for relatively stable information flow, long product life cycle and stable market are no longer capable of producing low cost and high quality products at rapid pace. This paper aims to arrive at a framework that can be used to determine optimal product development flow (sequential, concurrent, overlap) given the nature of change and uncertainty in the information flow. The framework is based on identification of product critical parameters followed by measurement of their evolution, sensitivity, precision, stability and product complexity to determine the level of uncertainty in the development. Using information sensitivity, evolution, stability and precision, probability of rework is identified. Probability of design oscillations are then determined by measuring the complexity of dependencies between activities. Identification of probability of rework and probability of design oscillations enables identification of suitable managerial actions to handle the level of uncertainty. This paper focuses on the probability of rework and product dependency complexity (network complexity) since complexity leads to design oscillations and along with high rework probability results in unpredictable development time. The paper proposes a framework that provides choices available to the manager to reduce the uncertainty in product design and development due to information instability and product complexity.
|Keywords:||Project Management, Uncertainty, Concurrent Engineering, Product Development Flow, Product, Development Management, Sensitivity, Evolution, Precision, Stability, Design Oscillations, Rework, Network Complexity, Functional Interaction|
Development Manager, Multi-Media Codecs, Texas Instruments, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Professor, Operations Management, XLRI Jamshedpur, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India
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