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Consider a rather large project that like so many projects had some difficulties. The project team had a major component (subsystem) delivered from a supplier. The supplier has one set of processes and the customer organization another. This supplier delivers multiple versions of this major subsystem. The customer integrates this subsystem into the larger system […]

The Pareto chart (not to be directly confused with the Pareto probability distribution function) is a simple approach to revealing significance in data. Before we plot our chart, we need to complete some initial work: Gather the data in a natural format (count, floating point [decimal], dollars, etc.) Sort the data from high to low […]

We have been on a bit a tear (or rant) about FMEAs. We suggest the FMEA documentation is part of the core of a design process. The ultimate approach we have seen is that of Michael Anleitner (The Power of Deduction: Failure Modes and Effects Analysis for Design, Quality Press, 2010), which uses functional analysis […]

There is only one way to describe this scenario and that is via a story.  Consider the organization that is coming to the end of the project.  The product is a complicated subassembly that goes into a larger system and has numerous interactions and incarnations of the design.  They are late in the delivery of […]

We submit that a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) review is a form of design review. After all, one of the purposes of a design review is to try and remove defects before they appear in the product and that is the entire rationale for the FMEA in the first place. Yet, most of […]

Risks can have origins in communications and are not the sole province of the stakeholders and sponsors of the project. Sometimes the organization damages itself via the structure.  We are all familiar with the functional organization, often referred to as a line organization or stove pipe organization in which we group the company by discipline. […]

Not all risks are associated with technology, processes, or missing resources.    Sometimes an individual assigned to your project can be the riskiest aspect of your entire project.  Technology and processes are predictable by their very nature.  And finding resources may be difficult, but the lead-time and process are well understood.  But humans are, in the […]

I have been having a running discussion with one of my colleagues regarding project and cost, specifically the cost of a project that is under consideration for termination.  A project is going through a gate review. During this review we find that the objectives are not met by this phase and further action has little […]

To highlight one more time how we often do ourselves more harm than good, we will have one more short case of how we can make an already risky situation even worse. Consider the vehicle manufacturer that is working a project to meet a new and more stringent pollution emissions regulatory target from the government.  […]