Critical processes are a continuum of interrelated and interdependent disciplines. A failure to perform well in one area may result in failure to do well in all areas. A high-risk program may result causing deployment of the product to be delayed, with degraded product performance, and at greater cost than planned. Risk is eliminated or reduced when the deficient industrial process is corrected, and that correction is often effected at a level of detail not normally visible to the Program Manager (PM).
This chapter contains fundamental technical processes and the associated Best Practices and "Watch-Out-Fors" which have great influence on technical risk. These practices, though by no means comprehensive, do focus on key technical risk areas. Use of proven best practices to achieve product success leads to a more organized approach to accomplish these activities and places more management significance on them.
Experienced engineers and PMs are aware that there are some requirements, conditions, materials, types of equipment or parts, and processes that almost invariably create potential or actual risk, identified herein as "Watch-Out-Fors." Knowing these areas of potential or actual risk gives a PM additional early insight for developing risk management or risk mitigation plans.
The Best Practices and "Watch-Out-Fors" associated with critical industrial technical processes should be used as a starting point in developing a baseline of program specific contractor processes. The best practices associated with these critical processes can also serve as benchmarks with which to compare your programís baseline processes and results achieved versus desired goals. The following examples of critical processes for the Design, Test, and Production phases of a productís development are presented in this chapter.