Breaking Down the Barriers to Product Innovation

Connecting Product Information and Teams Is Vital to Success in NPD and NPI

Proactive NPDI Project Management

CHALLENGE: Project Management Separated From Product Record

Introducing new products to market requires the completion of many different tasks by people throughout the internal organization and many partners with the end goal of meeting the product requirements. Delivering the product on time and on budget requires that these tasks be completed in a specific sequence at specific points in time. One of the greatest difficulties in keeping NPDI on schedule is that the project management tools used to track task completion and scheduling are usually separated from the product record and often available only to a limited number of managers within the organization.

Additionally, teams typically capture and track requirements in disparate formats. Traditional project management is focused on a manager creating a schedule, sharing it with the team, updating the schedule based on the team’s feedback, sharing the file back out to the team, collecting the inevitable comments for updates and adjustments, and then continuing the sharing process again. This approach requires considerable time and effort on the part of the entire team in communicating task status and updating the project management tool. It is particularly prone to difficulties when changes occur. A more modern, yet still challenging, project management method includes shared Google, Box, or Dropbox spreadsheets. While these are more accessible and sharable, these files tend to be disconnected from the NPDI product deliverables surrounding BOMs, requirements, and quality issues, so shared spreadsheets are prone to get out of sync with related product and quality records.

Proactive NPDI Project Management

SOLUTION: Connected Product Management

With Arena, the product record is connected to the project management schedule and all impacted teams have access. This approach aligns better with the nature of distributed teams today, allowing every stakeholder increased visibility, access, and ability to update and share comments or changes with the entire NPDI team. Engineering, design partners, purchasing, manufacturing, CMs, and external suppliers can view the phases, tasks, and milestones in context with the product record throughout the product lifecycle. Team members are freed from most of the coordination and communications tasks involved in traditional project management. Instead of meeting with or calling other team members, they can simply bring up the current project status on their screen.

This more connected project management approach ensures components, BOMs, documentation, design requirements, and even defects can be linked—giving impacted teams full context and added visibility to accelerate the NPDI process.