The foundation of Integrated Product and Process
Development (IPPD) is the Integrated Product Team (IPT). The IPT is a
multi-disciplinary teamwork approach to implement IPPD. The team is formed for
the purpose of delivering a product or process to either an internal or external
customer. An IPT consists of representatives from the various functional
disciplines influencing the product or process. The IPT approach differs that of
traditional program organizations that usually focus on single-function
IPT members work together to design and produce a
successful and balanced product - to make sound and timely decisions and to
identify and resolve issues. In addition to developing a product and its
associated processes, IPTs plan, track, and manage their own work and the
processes by which they do their work. The focus within the team is not on
individual team members' areas of specialty, but instead is on the integrated
product and process development that the team has been formed to conduct.
The IPT should include members of all areas involved in
the delivery of a product for an external or internal customer. Representation
within the IPT may include areas such as research, development, design, testing,
manufacturing, training, product service and support, finance, customers,
suppliers, and contracts. All functional disciplines that influence the product
throughout its lifetime should be represented. Early involvement of all key
participants ensures a higher quality integrated product development by
providing a more detailed understanding of all the requirements and a consensus
approach to designing the product or process.
Once the team's scope and objectives have been defined,
team members are assigned roles and responsibilities within the IPT. Team
members should feel free to participate and make decisions. Ideally, the IPT
should be kept relatively small, between seven and ten people. Larger projects
can employ a leadership IPT and a number of sub-IPTs, which also should be
limited in size. Leaders of sub-IPTs are members of the leadership IPT and are
empowered to address key decisions under their area of control.
The role of the team leader is not a dictatorial role,
but instead the IPT leader functions as a facilitator to the team to ensure that
everyone's voice is heard and that no person or group dominates the team. IPT
leadership should create an environment of trust and open communication.
Motivation is key to keeping the momentum and focus of the group to ensure that
discussions and decisions lead toward successful product development. The IPT
leader is responsible for ensuring resolution of problems and intervening when
necessary to resolve issues.
Teams focus on achieving set goals and objectives by
setting metrics by which to measure their progress. Defining and using metrics
allows for continuous monitoring and management of the product development cycle
and enables early feedback to identify possible problem areas and determine
proper corrective action.
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