Saturday, June 13, 2009

Managing Technical Projects

Managing Technical Projects is a challenging adventure as it requires many insights. Most technical projects can be thought of as experiments in motions. A product can be considered stable only after a few iterations (for some companies). For this reason we can start most projects as an experiment.

This kind of structuring can help us keep an open mind about:
1. Client requirements
2. Stakeholders interest
3. Delivery schedules
4. Product strategy and its variance
5. Quality

Experimentation (according to Stefan Thomke) can help organize, structure and lead the development activities of most projects. With experimentation as a common denominator the importance of value creation is the most importance peace (of course with quality, company goals and innovation are other factors often considered). Success with experimentation is to make an unknown/known and develop a process for innovation that is reusable and repeatable. Experimentation also transforms new technology (i.e. its creation and making it better).

In the course "Managing Technology Projects" at De Anza College, students take on a challenge of experimentation by working on a new idea in teams of 4 to 5. They learn about the following in three modules:

1. What is experimentation, factor involved in managing experimentation to success, how to do market research, develop a plan and strategy for initiating projects ... all to help with Technology evolution awareness and its impact of value creation.

2. Next module helps improve product design process by involving customers from the prototyping stage. Validating product iterations can save cost of development by getting feedback early and often from customer.

3. In the third module (best for last) students learn how to develop a product road map and its dependency on partnerships, stakeholder, technology, organizational structure and processes.

In the end students present the developed prototypes and answer question in context of their respective projects to illustrate application of what they have learnt in three modules.

A very interesting class to get "real-world" perspective on what it takes to manage/develop/create technology.

1 comment:

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