When your product development process fails, do you blame scarce resources or unforeseen technical challenges? Those may be factors, of course, but most product failures and development rework can be traced to a poor understanding of customer-centered needs and requirements. This book will show you, as a manager, how to prevent failure by guiding and empowering your people to define and understand the right requirements early in the product development cycle.
Drawing on their fifty combined years of real-world product development experience in many industries-including aerospace, medical, transportation, insurance, and military applications-the authors spell out exactly what's involved in "doing it right the first time." They provide tested methods for defining hardware and service products as well as software, a true rarity in handbooks on requirements.
Whether you manage product development, procurement, or service, it's possible, and even likely, that you lack formal training in requirements definition and management. This book fills that educational gap by offering the necessary fundamentals and framework. Uniquely, it helps you examine your organization's culture and work environment with an eye toward how it helps or hinders product development. It also helps you take advantage of automated tools for managing requirements with proven techniques for increasing efficiency.
By improving the fit between your products and your customers' needs, and by streamlining your development process, you'll achieve the Holy Grail of product development. Let Customer-Centered Products show you how to make your products "faster" and "cheaper" without sacrificing "better."
Review By: Sid Snook 08/04/2005The authors present a relatively simple and thoroughly convincing approach for addressing the persistent challenge of answering the fundamental questions of any project. These fundamental questions are: "What do I need?" and "What are the customer-centered needs and requirements?"
Key factors behind classic requirement failures and challenges are discussed along with associated pragmatic, simple methods to address these challenges. The methodologies and techniques presented are not overly analytical, complex, or lengthy. The need to focus the necessary prerequisite effort on the requirements process is stressed and is contrasted against the classic tendency to short change the requirements lifecycle phase by inadequate effort or undisciplined methods and techniques.
The main theme of the book is aimed at managers of all levels. The key message is that, a well-informed and trained manager with defined processes developed from adaptable techniques and examples, does a better job. This book provides management by giving definitions of the right requirements. It also states that, the requirements process should be completed early in the product development life cycle where it is most cost effective. "Doing it right the first time," is the bottom line message on which the authors focus. They also provide useful details that can be easily adapted to requirements for any product.
This book is a comprehensive treatment of how to develop "quality requirements." It effectively addresses the area of improvement that provides the most return-on-investment for any organization that undertakes development. Fundamentals, frameworks, and processes, for the complete spectrum of requirement development were presented. Excellent step-by-step analysis of test subjects is included along with insightful real-world examples that in all cases provided the learning re-enforcement of the text presented.
Step-by-step methodologies, clarifying examples, and detailed analyses are provided to help the reader learn the following:
Build quality in from the start.
Make the requirements "testable."
Create an action plan for your specific project.
Overcome communication inadequacies and barriers.
Capture essential customer needs, constraints, and biases.
Establish quality requirements metrics that span the life cycle.
Assessment of the current requirements processes and their shortcomings.
Assess and control risk associated with requirements and requirements priorities.
Manage the broad range and scope of requirements from simple to complex projects.
Assess and define detailed operational scenarios of how product will be used and by whom in the real world.
This book is a must read and is a comprehensive, pragmatic treatment of how to develop "quality requirements." It effectively addresses the one area of improvement that provides the most return-on-investment for any organization that undertakes development requirements. Chapters 4 and 5 provide the best treatment that I have seen of "operational concepts" which is an absolutely essential prerequisite for developing good requirements.