You’ve bid for, and won, a new contract, or conceived a new product, but do the engineering costs truly reflect the expectations you have as a business, and how are you going to assure it’s aligned and remains that way?
To be profitable you need to get the timing right, so that determines development timescales.
You know what the market expects in terms of product reliability and the effect failures will have on the business, because you understand the sales forecasts, the intended market life, the warranty you are offering, and customers’ expectations of your brand.
There are “must haves” in your feature content which give you market position, but also lots of “me toos” that you can’t leave out. To get the product sales life, you require flexibility to accommodate upgrades, ward off the competition, or respond to the changing market.
All of these factors have an impact on product engineering and, if software is a constraining factor, will be significant for software systems engineering, where they will need clear assignment of priorities. Failure to do so will have engineers ‘invent’ flexibility you don’t need.
Key product characteristics, risk recognition and management, choice of development processes, sources of components, team capability, structure and organisation, intellectual property, partners and suppliers all play a significant part in starting down the right track and as a reference point for remaining on track. You need to act as proxy customer and set these out for your engineering teams.
Change and flexibility both drive cost in, so reduce them as much as possible… and moderate your appetite for change! Unrealistic timescales, compressing programmes and overloading resources are also the biggest drivers of cost escalation (and business failure). Good businesses concentrate on what they are good at, or those items they need to protect, and use partners or suppliers to source the remainder… the same should be true in software, but it needs appropriately capable software management internally and overseeing the supply chain, so get the best you can and use it appropriately.
The choice of software engineering processes dictates the product quality attributes and that includes the balance between initial development investment and cost of managing fielded failures (unreliable product), hence this choice should be an informed business decision. Different processes for risk reduction and production may also be inevitable and contrasted with ‘prototyping’ in other industries… be realistic, don’t expect to salvage much of the prototype into a product, or your prototype is over-engineered!
We will talk about Programme Management, Project Organisation, and Sourcing including estimation, cost relationships, measuring and managing programmes, and capability assessment in later parts.
Let us help you maximise the business potential of your product and its software
Email me on email@example.com
Visit our website, or follow us on your preferred Social Media for our latest views. ______________________________________________________________________________