Front-loading a smart way to managing your product development budgets.

March 20, 2009

As discussed in ‘Schedule Management your smart Project Engine’ and considering new product development, WBS templates will be synchronous with a product breakdown structure. The military Def.Std 0060 and Mil.Std. 13882b define functional and physical product breakdown structures. The focus of the first is the requirements definition whereas the second is the resulting physical product as it will be certified for operational usage according to the ‘V’ model. Both approaches support top-down engineering principles where you start with the product schematics that gets detailed and populated with assemblies, sub-assemblies and parts. This approach is an ideal mechanism for front-loading.

Obviously it is not necessary to front-load a complete product, the ability to just complete this for certain product areas is by itself a major advantage. The prove that this works can be found in the automotive industry. Today’s turn around time for vehicle development is the result of being able to front load specific disciplines with placeholder product breakdown structure (PBS) and to drive the engineering process with the linked work ‘Requests’. As the industry works with product platforms and initiating such a PBS, specific assemblies and sub-assemblies and component items are carried across/over. It must be realized that those items Carried-over and -across are in fact technically and commercially certified and the certification management may extend to certification across multiple model years or multiple vehicle lines. The downstream benefits of such approaches are enormous.

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