Friday, November 13, 2009

Concepts for Improving New Product Transparency

Transparency - Ensuring everyone has the information that allows them to maximize their contribution and enable informed decisions for the ultimate success of a project. Unpredictability will always be the result of a constriction in information, where transparency has not been a priority. Below are some thoughts on mechanisms that will pump of project transparency.

Visible Milestones
You don't want your team fishing around for key milestones. Take the key dates such as tapeout, 1st Si, characterization and product ramp and post them - BIG. You can see them from across the room size. As a project approaches a key milestone, post it on doors as they enter the area. This stuff is not a secret and there is no excuse for everyone on the team not knowing what the next key project event is.

Workflow Management
There must be an easily accessible mechanism where the team can go to find out where things are at, specifics on deliverables and the best practices for the project. This is not a set of documentation gathering dust on the shelves, or a rarely accessed read only file wasting space on a hard drive. It is an interactive guide for the team's activities where the user is adding value to the content in addition to seeking best practices guidance and deliverable expectations. PIEmatrix is at the top of the list for this application followed by Design Guides.

Bi-Directional Project Meetings
Make sure there is more to routine project meetings than updating status and directing activities. Don't forget to listen - where are the areas of concern from the team and what can you collectively do about them. This is promoting upward transparency from the team to leadership and will only provide continuing results where the team realizes actual benefit. Encourage open communication and problem solving and reap upward transparency rewards on a long-term basis.

There are many other possibilities for improving transparency. Bear in mind that the objective is that no one is ever surprised, from the lower levels all the way to the top. Ponder what can be done to enable this goal. Best of luck and may transparency prosper and deliver the new product development predictability that your business requires.

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