Product Development Recovery
We provided an independent assessment of a complex system which included an array of technologies and which had failed to meet key product development milestones.
Our client, a small, privately funded UK technology company, was in the process of developing a complex system which employed a diverse range of technologies including software, mechanics, robotics and positioning technology. The successful delivery of the product called for the co-ordination of a number of third parties who were involved in the evaluation of system performance during performance trials.
The in-house project team had struggled to achieve performance targets during the product development stage and measures to bring the project back on track had not succeeded. Key product development milestones had been missed and the overall success of the project was at risk.
We were commissioned to provide an external, independent expert assessment of the system, to confirm the technical viability of the project and to uncover the real reasons why it was consistently failing to meet its milestones.
We undertook a diagnostic assessment and implemented a top-down review that focused on issues such as:
requirements definition – how accurately were functionality and performance mapped onto market needs
system development and design methodology
competence and capabilities of the development team
lines of communication between team members
performance verification process
essential technical robustness of the system in development
risk assessment and management processes
Following an intensive two-week assessment, Sagentia identified the key factors underpinning the problems. These included poor requirements definition and functionality creep, lack of structured development and design verification and poor overall ownership of the project. Reassuringly however, the system was judged to be of an extremely high technical standard.
Confirmation of the system’s technical viability gave the client confidence to undertake Sagentia’s more fundamental recommendations. These included re-writing the product development methodology and implementing an objective, market-driven analysis exercise. Changes to specific team responsibilities were also undertaken. As a result, the client was able to create a product evolution roadmap that not only satisfied business requirements but also removed significant risk from the subsequent development programme.
We were able to provide the rational assessment that the client team needed and backed our assessment with expert knowledge encompassing wireless communications, positioning technologies, and robotic control systems. This included real experience in the development of complex systems. Importantly, we tempered our recommendations to take into account the views and responsibilities of those within the in-house team. Through our demonstration of technical credibility, our recommended approach was accepted without alienating specific individuals or project groups.