Integrated Product Teams (IPT)

May 15, 2009

IPT (or cross functional teams) are made up of multi-functional stakeholders that collaborate with a product-oriented focus. IPT is an evolution of Concurrent Engineering. IPT is an evolving form of collaboration. Product development activities change and evolve over its life, team composition and leadership will evolve likewise. While marketing personnel, acquisition planners, project managers and design engineers may be the most prominent members early in the life cycle, provisioners and item managers gain a bigger voice during engineering and manufacturing development. Equipment specialists and mechanics may be the lead members during the operations and maintenance phase, with the design engineers returning once again if a major modification is needed.

I have seen few companies that successfully operate an IPT organizational concept. Those that do you typically find in defense type of enterprises.
Implementation of this form of collaborative team working represents a transition from a functional stovepipe focus to a customer product focus. Teamwork within the framework drives the functional and product disciplines into a mutually reinforcing relationship which helps remove barriers to the efficient collaboration and product (development) success. The business purpose is to bring together all the functions that have a stake in the performance of a product/process and concurrently make integrated decisions affecting that product or process. The teams can be formed, and talents are applied at all levels of the organization ranging from the overall structure of the organization to ad hoc teams that address specific product performance problems and address sustainment.
The concept of IPT supported by the collaboration technologies I describe in this post on Collaboration, make a product development organization a powerful gorilla.
A well organized IPT provides an efficient closed loop product development and sustainment continuum.


One Response to “Integrated Product Teams (IPT)”

  1. Mintjens Says:

    In a product design process one should consider the total cost of ownership not only the technical feasibility. I see Integrated Product Teams as an important vehicle to optimize these costs across the life cycle of a product and to define the cost impact of a design decision.

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