- Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521017742
- ISBN-13: 978-0521017749
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,737,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Engineering and Product Development Management: The Holistic Approach
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"Stephen Armstrong's book makes a good contribution to the body of knowledge on product development, and deserves a place in the library of any manager working in this area." Mark Crowne, IEE Review
"Stephen Armstrong's book is an invaluable resource that advocates the integration of technical aspects of engineering with leadership and process management. It is an excellent addition to the libraries of planning, design, and operation engineers, consulting engineers, project and program managers, engineering managers, directors and executives." Daria Babaie, Engineering Dimensions
"...a practical guide to the components of engineering management..." Business Horizons
This book is a practical guide to the components of engineering management, using a holistic approach. It will help engineers and managers understand what they have to do to improve the product development process by deploying new technology and new methods of working in concurrent teams. The book takes elements from six well known and understood bodies of knowledge and integrates them into a holistic approach: integrated product development, project management, process management, systems engineering, product data management, and organizational change management. These elements are framed within an overall enterprise-wide architecture. The techniques discussed in this book work for both huge multinational organizations and smaller enterprises.
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As part of the rejuvenation of our products, I launched the "new look" project as engineering manager. Early on, it was clear that the project had a lot of skepticism, factions, diverse opinions, and general resistance to change. As Stephen Armstrong suggests, change management is a very profound process to establish and maintain. He also implies that engineers may only focus on the linear and technical process and perhaps not grasp or control the other influences that can affect the success of true product development. In the case of Summit, the president joined the project team and participated actively in the meetings and the process because I think that he knew that this had to be a "holistic" process. This was critical because of the importance of the project to the company. Some team members at the meetings suggested that he was usurping my role as project leader. I was engineering manager and had assumed the role of "team leader" because traditionally product development was centered in engineering/R&D. What I experienced was a lot of resistance and resentment from other departments such as manufacturing, QA, and service. I realized that if the project were to succeed that I would need a strong mandate from the top and sustainable support from the corner office, along with much better teamwork. I did not resent the president's presence. Instead, I sensed that something good and interesting was happening. In retrospect, I now see that he (the president) wanted an integrated (holistic) solution and that there were forces and influences that only he could influence or control. The lesson to me was that thinking of the project only in a linear technical fashion, while important, was not the complete answer to getting things done in the needed time frame. The final project was not perfect in all respects. While we were able to keep development cost down, this did take more time because of the need to locate and coordinate contract resources and unexpected problems with certain key vendors. Also, we spent resources on a feature that was later decided to eliminate. Regardless, we did demonstrate to the marketplace that we had up-to-date technology and the commitment to support our products going forward.
A couple of other items
* Our president (COO) sent the whole company off to project management training. This was an important step because it provided a common agenda and dialog for the team and it showed the commitment of top management to success of the project and the product.
* The COO's time and availability became a problem because of business pressures. He did not abandon the project and appointed a second-in-command, a marketing director, to continue the day-to-day operations. The marketing director had sufficient communications skills, organizational clout, and the ability to stimulate teamwork that kept the process going. In fact, it was one of the best functioning teams because a workable process replaced the interdepartmental conflicts.
The COO was and is a smart, demanding, and a really good leader. What he did was to address the product development process in the holistic manner that Stephen describes. At times, I felt that my role as engineering manager was being affected by the President's intervention. The president was careful to get my agreement and he made a point of sitting beside me at meetings to lend support. I realize now that I could not have pulled off the project by myself. The engineering process alone had been tried twice before and had failed to produce results. It was an uphill struggle with a lot of technical challenges along with the project challengers. The political, organizational, etc. issues were too large and beyond the scope of my control. I am a good manager in the engineering process but not in the league of the president. So the purpose of the article is to point out the revelation that I had during the project and especially when I read the book.
Those who do not apply a holistic approach to product development are most likely old school executives/engineers (we've done it this way for 30 years) who are the blockers in the organization. The author describes in detail the tactics to deal with blockers. The blockers usually ignore the human issues and think a team is just a collection of people in a room.
The demands on the modern engineering manager are greater than they have ever been and the challenges to program success continue to grow exponentially. The rapid growth of technology has resulted in most of the products being developed by current and future companies - large and small - being inordinately complex systems of integrated technologies. This complexity is exacerbated by the complicated interdependencies among the technologies of the various product components. The availability of highly capable e-design, e-analysis, and e-prototyping tools and the growth in new methods that better integrate design and manufacturing are both wonderful benefits and potential burdens to the engineering teams using them. The move to virtual prototyping changes the planning and staffing profiles from that of the traditional project engineering organization. Added to these changes are the increasing demands for shorter and shorter engineering span times accompanied with further expectation that engineering costs must be reduced by factors of 30% to 50% for businesses to remain competitive, and in some cases these reductions are expected to be recurring. These factors bring additional uncertainties and risk to an activity that has traditionally been risky.
Given this backdrop, Stephen Armstrong urges us to view the engineering management problem from a different perspective than has been offered before. Engineering managers should adopt a total perspective of the problems that they have facing them.
While they divide the work along the logical lines of work breakdown, they must at the same time undertake the effort with the right tools and processes to assure success. At the core of these processes are the ones that provide a logical and systematic definition of work flow and that provide the mechanisms to control and manage risk. Since an engineering effort is simply the maturation of information, understanding the flow of information and the management of it is critical to success. We are also cautioned that the answers to good engineering management are more than just technical or administrative. The engineering manager must recognize that his primary resource is people and provide a human side to the management of engineering teams.
The managers that read this book will find the formula for the success of their projects. You will find as you read the pages of useful management methods that a pattern starts to unfold and the powerful concept of an integrated technical management will form. Your approach to successful engineering management will never be the same.
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