Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Program Launch Process
In the first quarter of 1997, ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD) was faced with starting 15 new programs. Previously when a contract was awarded, the departments would scramble to get resources; define budgets and schedules; and haphazardly start production. Departments tended to work independently with little coordination among themselves. With limited advanced planning and no formalized process, the introduction of new programs often lacked well-executable steps, dedicated resources, adequate funding, program objectives, and launch schedules. As a result, new program launches were unsuccessful, resulting in false starts, low yield rates, high defect rates, missed schedules, excessive costs, and interruptions in new and existing production. In 1997, ITT A/CD established the Program Launch process as an organized method to ensure that budgets, schedules, resources, equipment, facilities, and materials required for launching new programs are identified, planned, and implemented prior to production.
Upon contract award, the Program Launch process begins. The steps include assembling a core team of senior staff; interpreting the contract and plan; identifying key task leaders and training requirements; reviewing the technical baseline; updating the Integrated Management Plan (IMP) process; collaborating with senior staff and directors; establishing baseline/detailed schedules and budgets; identifying additional needs; and implementing the program. A program start-up checklist itemizes each action item, responsible member, plan date, and status. Approximately 80 people have received more than 20 hours of Integrated Product Development (IPD) training consisting of an overview, program launch procedures, effective meetings, a Microsoft Project video, electronic data management system accessibility, and other development tools as required (e.g., quality function deployment; requirements traceability and management; failure modes and effects analysis; decision making; risk management).
The core team’s creed is to talk, think, collaborate, plan, document, concur, and launch:
Talk to the customer product line team and senior staff to clearly understand the goals of the program. Think and interpret these objectives.
Collaborate with key task leaders and experts.
Plan how to implement the program.
Document the program clearly by using the IMP process to avoid misunderstandings due to trickle-down information and hand-offs.
Concur with key task leaders and senior staff.
Launch the program by using the IMP process as the core team’s implementation plan and contract with senior staff.
ITT A/CD’s Program Launch process provides a smoother method to launch new programs. Currently, the company’s baseline launch period for a new program is 65 days, with a goal set for 60 days. Success relies on assembling a staff early, providing forecast training, establishing plans before starting work, and updating requirement documents.
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