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Since accepting my first engineering assignment in 1989, I have been involved with new product development. Natural gas meters, electric winches, snow blowers, water filters, and even software for coffee makers fill the array of products for which I have had direct development responsibilities. On the surface, the technical solution was always considered to be the most important. However, each of these products had schedules and budgets which were equally important to the total success of the project. Some of the greatest technical solutions can be compromised if the cost or time to market target is missed.
In my current position at Prodigy, we developed a process that keeps the project schedule and cost in the forefront with the technical solution – ensuring all aspects of the product development process are met. Overall, I have also grown to understand that communication within the project team is paramount. For this reason, our process includes clear and concise documentation of specifications, budgets, assignments, and schedules. We start off every project review with a discussion of assignments and results along the status of the schedule and budget. No surprises and no secrets are the keys to completing successful projects.