Task 2 – Report
In this report the product
development methodology that was utilised for the project of Boxline 4
Automation Phases 1, 2 & 3 referenced in this assignment was the Robert
Cooper’s Stage-Gate-Process. 2inno.eu. (2018)
The main reason this stage gate
model was chosen was due to its easy utilisation and the fluidity of the
process. Each gate and each stage has specific criteria that helps understand
the flow of a project, and allows the user to work on each stage with the
understanding of the requirements for the next gate. It also allows the user to analyse each gate,
and each stage as an individual process and helps split the project into a more
manageable task. If it is known precisely what is required to pass the next
gate, then prior to the gate review, the user can ensure that all required
tasks have been completed to pre-empt the gate from giving a no go result. This
opinion is also reflected in Scott J. Edgett’s paper Idea-to-Launch (Stage-Gate®) Model: An Overview. (Edgett, 2015) In this paper it is stated that “The Stage-Gate model is designed to improve
the speed and quality of execution of product innovation activities. The
process helps project teams prepare the right information, with the right level
of detail, and the right gate to support the best decision possible”.
This report intends to critically
reflect on the effectiveness of the Robert Cooper’s Stage-Gate-Process used in
the project, and also evaluate additional product development processes that
may have been more or less useful had they been utilised within the project.
Robert Cooper’s Stage Gate Process
Breaking the Stage Gate Process
down with reference to the Boxline 4 Automation Project, the utilisation of the
gate can be easily identified.
Idea; Idea generated that
there is Non-value Added (NVA) time in the Boxline 4 production process that
can be improved with the utilisation of automation methods and technology.
Gate 1; Must meet and
should meet criteria. Must meet criteria outlined as Quality, Quality must stay
the same or improve. Should meet criteria, head reduction & Overall
Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) should improve.
Stage 1; Beginning of
Product Design Specification (PDS) equipment costs £ estimation, Industrial
Engineering department verification of waste in process & potential
automation ideas, beginning of CAD layouts to suit the potential automation
ideas and 3D models that can be utilised by internal and external designers.
Gate 2; Feasible
automation ideas that can be built / integrated by the in house team iFA.
Equipment cost £ estimation low / high potential of return.
Stage 2; Finalisation of
the Product Design Specification (PDS) with accurate quotes for Research &
Development (R&D) costs with Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) requirements for
overall project. Timing plan completed with suitable resource allocation, Risk
Register form filled out by the project team and Risk Management Methodology
plans laid out for medium to high scoring risks.
Gate 3; Final gate before
the larger costs for the project incur. Decision to be made based on the
evidence provided in the PDS that the R&D costs are feasible and overall
CAPEX expenditure can be approved.
Stage 3; Equipment
required for R&D bought, 2D CAD layouts finalised and prototypes developed
within the workshop. Capability & repeatability studies carried out and
initial 3Cs list generated and closed.
(Current Project Progress)
Gate 4; To pass gate 4 the
prototypes must be fully developed and working, capability and repeatability
studies carried out and accepted. Over 97.7% straight through ratio must be
Stage 4; Once gate 4 is
passed the remaining equipment required to complete the project must be
ordered. Following Risk Management Methodology equipment to be installed on
site & mass productions trials supported by various departments to be
Gate 5; Compilation of the
results of the mass productions trials, quality inspections and general
response from the manufacturing team will allow gate 5 to be passed allowing
the project to move onto the handover stage of the project.
Stage 5; Once gate 5 has
been passed the project will be within stage 5 of the stage gate process and
the equipment will be in full production. From here the full process should be
analysed as one whole project again rather than in the three phases.
Identifying failures and what could potentially be improved to further increase
the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) or profit margin.
implementation review to be held. Discussing the success of the project, how it
could be further improved and conducting a “Lessons Learned” activity.
By following this Stage Gate
Process strictly, the key milestones and outcomes can easily be defined
allowing the user to successfully plan a project from start through to finish.
In task 1 of this assignment, the author identifies how the requirements for
Gates 4 and 5 must be met, along with the work that will be carried out in
Stages 4 and 5.
As this is the author’s first
project as lead, the Robert Cooper’s Stage Gate Process helped identify what
key tasks & milestones needed to be achieved to pass the gates as the
project progressed, and also allowed for planning of future stages & gates.
Cooper, R. and Edgett, S. (2012) states
that “there is some debate about the
optimal level of flexibility in such a system, or whether there should be
different versions of the process to accommodate different types of development
projects versus a one-size-fits-all model.” The author agrees with this
statement and believes that the previous project could not fully utilise a “one-size-fits-all”
stage gate model, for that reason the project was split into three phases, each
with individual stage gates. However as for the full process it was still
classed as one project and therefore should have one final stage 5 and one
final implementation review to discuss the project as a whole, and not just the
After discussing the use of
Robert Cooper’s Stage Gate Process in the previous pages, additional
methodologies are going to be discussed along with how they may or may not have
improved the flow of the project, and if the author believes they should have
been used as an alternative method to the methodology used.
The original spiral model was
first developed by Barry Boehm in 1986 when he published his paper a Spiral
Model of Software Development and Enhancement (Boehm, B. 1986). The Incremental Commitment Spiral
Model (ICSM) states that “The original
spiral model was meant to say that after a project had identified its
objectives, constraints and alternative solution approaches (OC&As), it
would evaluate the alternatives with respect to those objectives and
constraints, and make a risk-driven determination of what to do next.” (Boehm et al.,
original spiral model figure is shown below.
From an inexperienced
perspective, the original spiral model appears crowded with information, and no
real guidance. It appears that each ring of the spiral, is simply a phase, and
each phase requires risk analysis followed by a prototype development, and
various actions thereafter. It gives no indication of what must be achieved to reach
the next phase, and would not help in developing an initial timing plan.
Many iterations of the Spiral
Model have been produced since 1986, one that stood out to the author being the
Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM).
Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM)
Shown above is a figure of the
Incremental Commitment Spiral Model. (Boehm et al., 2014). Similar to the original
spiral model, each spiral has risk analysis. However in the Incremental
Commitment Spiral Model, it gives indication on what action is to be taken
based on the results of the risk analysis.
At the start of each
spiral, risk analysis is carried out. Shown in the figure to the left, it gives
direction on how to follow to spiral model based on the results of the risk
analysis. If the risk is acceptable, then the project will move onto the next
spiral, if the risk is high, but addressable then the team will require more
work to move onto the next spiral, if the risk is negligible then the next
spiral can be skipped. If the risk is too high and unaddressable, then a kill
decision may be made to end the project before anymore costs incur.
There is also a different
perspective that has been taken on the Incremental Commitment Spiral Model,
that shows similar traits to Robert Cooper’s Stage Gate Process, the
Incremental Commitment Model: Phased View, shown below. (Boehm et al., 2014).
This model has exactly the same
stages (spirals) as the Incremental Commitment Spiral Model, however within
each stage it expands on what is required to move onto the next, similar to the
Robert Cooper’s Stage Gate Model. The flexibility of this model is what really
sets it apart from other product development methodology, if there is potential
risk, as long as it is acceptable, or manageable then the project can continue
to be developed rather than being held up on a specific gate and falling behind
on the timing plan.
By reflecting on the product
development methodology used in the Product Design Specification and Integrated
Management Plan, it is clear to see that by following the Stage Gate Process
strictly, as the author had done, it’s very easy to get sucked into the process
without factoring in other possibilities. The timing plan was based around the
various stages and gates, however it did not factor in the possibility of a
gate not being passed. If this was to happen, there was no room for a recovery
plan within the timing plan that would not in turn impact the final delivery
date, and thus push back every other stage & gate within the plan.
From the experience gained in
planning this project, a useful lessons learned activity would be to spend more
time on the timing plan, and review each gate with possible outcomes, and allow
for a recovery of that gate, without having an impact on the date of the next
The author believes that the
Stage Gate Process is a fantastic methodology for planning a project, however
experience plays a big factor in terms of planning, timing plans and
possibility of failures. It also helps in the understanding of the Stage Gate
Process itself, if the knowledge is at hand for what each stage and gate entails,
then the process can be utilised in a more effective manor, allowing the
project to flow smoother.
After reviewing other Product
Design Methodologies such as the Spiral Model, and the Incremental Commitment
Spiral model, and reading various papers by known innovative leaders such as
Robert Cooper, Scott J Edgett, Barry Jaruzelski and Kevin Dehoff, the author
believes that there is no specific Product Design Methodology that is fully comprehensible
with a lack of experience. For that reason it could be suggested that the best
methodology, would be to tailor one, or more methodologies into one process,
that could be utilised by a specific user, or industry. It could even be argued
that an industry specific process may not fully apply to the project at hand
and that it may need to modified or adapted for smaller projects that may not
need as many stages or gates.
It is clear that for a project
manager or department manager, deciding which, if any product development
methodology to use may be a daunting task as there is a variety of
methodologies out there, each model having alternative takes on the original,
and various papers supporting for and against each model. It would seem that
the best approach would be to rather discuss the project with the team and
ensure clear lines of communication from the offset, with the customer whether
it be an internal customer or external customer to ensure that their needs are
met. Regardless of the methodology that is used, one common factor in each is
the first stage, “Idea” therefore a product design methodology does not need to
be decided on until after that phase. Once that phase is complete then the team
working on the project can work together and decide a methodology that suits
the project, rather than trying to make the project suit a specific