A Method for Identifying Improvement Potentials within Product Development Processes
When a company tries to improve its product development process one of the first challenges is to become clear about two things: what "improvement" means and where within the overall process it is most necessary. The method proposed in this paper aims at identifying activities within a development process which have a high potential for improvement. It is based on the concept of process efficiency, i.e. the ratio of effort spent vs. value added. While the effort of a development activity can be determined quite easily, the value it adds is more difficult to quantify. Therefore an algorithm is described which uses a Design Structure Matrix (DSM) to calculate the value of each development activity based on the knowledge gained through it and the degree to which other activities depend on it. The method has been successfully applied to a real-life product development process and has received initial positive feedback from industry.