Friday, July 31, 2009

Is your Development Process Targeting the Right Objective?

Consider the development process you use today and how it was derived. Was it a broad-spectrum view of what needs to happen to generate new product revenue or was it a set of processes derived by each of the organizational entities within your business? Taking an honest, unbiased assessment will most likely yield the latter approach as the most correct answer.

Assuming the processes were created in each of the organizational towers, what do you believe the focus for each process was? Honestly, it depends on the function of each. In design the focus was on a tapeout. In product engineering it was product qualification. In test it was development of characterization and final test programs and hardware. For project management it is the development of a timeline, cost analysis, a business case and the steps to synchronize everyone. Marketing is paying attention to customer requirements and what it takes to secure the socket win. And of course business/operations is paying attention to revenue, margin and the timeline.

Now consider the process deliverables and interactions for each organizational entity. Are they really aligned to the only objective that matters - profitable revenue? So now I would ask - Is the development processes actually focused on the business requirements? In reality a few members of the development team are focused on revenue while the majority are paying attention to their more localized goals and objectives.

Here's a key question to reflect upon for your organization - Is the development process supporting the organizational structure or is the organizational structure supporting the development process? In an organization where the development process is primary, the project decisions, risk analysis, objectives and communications will be based on the big picture - business revenue priorities. Where the organizational silos are foremost, the development processes will be fragmented and disjointed with objective success not consistently supporting and enabling the business revenue goals.

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