Product development teams are working harder to keep up with the competition and deliver quality products on-time and on-budget. This leads to additional complexity, which in turn drives a need for solid project management.
But has this need led to a major overhaul of how products and projects are managed? Not quite, it seems. Product development teams still face major challenges when it comes to project management, according to a study from Engineering.com. The website surveyed 140 product development practitioners across a variety of manufacturing industries about their current practices.
The survey found that there is a large gap between how important project management is to a successful product launch and the respondents’ ratings of how effective their company is at execution. No surprise here: having processes, systems, and software in-place were correlated with higher effectiveness.
Respondents noted that these four project management challenges impact product development most often:
- Understanding how requirement changes impact a project’s schedule and resources.
- Getting accurate and consistent project task updates with proof of completion.
- Identifying product development issues that are causing project delays.
- Executing the simultaneous launch of multiple variants of a product.
While these challenges can sometimes feel insurmountable, the study results showed that the right processes and tools can help. Here are some ways LiquidPlanner addresses these four major challenges:
Understanding how requirement changes impact a project’s schedule and resources.
LiquidPlanner is the only project management tool that does this automatically with our Scheduling Engine. Whether it’s specs changing, late parts, or employees being out of office, LiquidPlanner automatically adjusts completion dates for each task and project in a portfolio. Often, a change will impact not just one project, but a whole portfolio. Whenever there’s a change in a project, LiquidPlanner updates all projects in portfolio, so changes can be seen across the timeline.
LiquidPlanner also offers reporting capabilities, which show changes over time. These reports can be used to track efficiencies.
Getting accurate and consistent project task updates with proof of completion.
A major tenet of the LiquidPlanner platform is collaboration and transparency. The platform also offers the ability to update projects along the way.
In LiquidPlanner, items are marked complete as the project moves along. This tracks completion and keeps the project moving. As assignments are marked done, LiquidPlanner automatically schedules resources to work on the next highest priority task.
LiquidPlanner updates users to any changes, so the project team stays in the know.
Another feature of LiquidPlanner is real-time dashboards. As changes come in, the reporting will always be accurate and consistent. Users are never looking at old reports. It’s always the current version (which can be either amazing or terrifying).
Identifying product development issues that are causing project delays.
Risk alerts highlight issues before they derail a project, and LiquidPlanner automatically flags a variety of risks.
The most common of these is resource bottlenecks. With LiquidPlanner’s resource workload reports, it’s easy to quickly what teams or individual people are working on, when they’re working on it, and how much work they have over time. This report helps managers visualize team capacity and identify where the bottlenecks are.
If it’s QA problems or approval issues, LiquidPlanner will automatically adjust and show that interruption in the project schedule. If there is a product development issue, the resource’s time will automatically be pushed out. LiquidPlanner will also factor in these issues and delays and determine the most likely finish date, based on these new issues.
With reporting functionality, it’s also very easy to do really effective project postmortems. Project managers can identify the specific issue that caused a delay and watch for these issues in the future.
Executing the simultaneous launch of multiple variants of a product.
LiquidPlanner serves as the single source of truth for project and team activity and schedule updates, especially when projects include multiple variants. Project managers can use project limits within LiquidPlanner to have resources spread across multiple variants of a product. They can also leverage templates to ensure quality and consistency is maintained. The project maintains its true structure along the way, but shifted for variants.
Ready to see how LiquidPlanner can help your team overcome these four product development challenges? Start a free trial today.