Process Management Approaches In Outsourced Product Development

Aligning processes with a company’s strategic goals is key to achieving operational success. Process Architectures are designed and implemented considering organizational goals in mind. When you are handling a large scale outsourced product development effort, ensure that your process owners or managers are educated to appreciate the relevance of these processes and manage them effectively.

The process areas include inter-project activities with respect to definition, planning, implementation, deployment, and monitoring processes, as well as measuring, controlling, appraising and improving processes.

The five relevant process areas are:

  • Organizational Process Focus (OPF)
  • Organizational Process Definition (OPD)
  • Organizational Training (OT)
  • Organizational Performance Management (OPM)
  • Organizational Process Performance (OPP)

Basic Process Management Process Areas

The first three process areas namely Organizational Process Focus (OPF), Organizational Process Definition (OPD) and Organizational Training (OT) are basic process management process areas as they provide the ability to document and disseminate best practices, process assets related to the organization and organizational learning.

Organization Process Focus

is focused on helping to plan, implement and deploy improvements, based on an analysis of current weaknesses and strengths of the processes or process assets. The processes can be improved based on feedback from other sources, such as Project Management, Support and Engineering groups. Process improvement proposals based on process appraisal, process measurement results, lessons learned and product evaluations help in improvement of processes.

Any effort for improvement of processes should be carefully planned, and a Process Improvement Plan is to be drafted before any such plan is updated. A process improvement plan, which addresses relevant areas of appraisal planning for processes, process action planning to create the action plan, pilot planning for validation of process implementation and deployment planning is to be envisaged.

The results of such planning are process action plans, which document how the implementations for improvements would be taken care.

Organization Process Definition

process area sets and defines a set of standard processes including work environment standards, and assets based on objectives and process needs. The other assets include lifecycle descriptions, tailoring guidelines, other data and documentation related to processes.

Ensure that your project tailors these set of standards so as to create the projects’ defined processes, while the other assets support the tailoring as well as the defined processes.

Organization Training Needs

on the other hand support the strategic training needs, as well as tactical training needs relevant to project teams and support groups. The training plan typically includes a managed training development program, documented plans & staff with the knowledge and skills to make the trainings effective.

Advanced Process Management Process Areas

These process areas help the organization to achieve improved capability to achieve its quantitative goals. Each of the advanced process areas, such as Organization Process Performance (OPP) and Organization Performance Management (OPM) have the ability to develop and deploy processes and supporting assets, and this ability is provided by the Basic process management areas.

OPP derives quantitative objectives from the organization, whereas the organization shares baselines, models related to process performance and common measures.

In OPM, process performance models and baselines are analyzed to understand ability of the organization to meet business, quality and process performance objectives, which in turn enables to have innovative and incremental improvements enhancing overall performance.

The selection of process deployments is to be purely based on the benefits and predicted costs of improvements. Causal Analysis is a supporting process which is executed in order to find the root causes of weaknesses and suggest process improvements.

Process Reviews / Meetings

A few reviews or meetings that are to be performed to improve the processes are:

  • Monthly Project Quality Audit: On a Monthly basis, each project, which is under execution undergoes an internal audit by a Quality Representative, who reviews whether the project follows the necessary standards as desired by project owners. The Project Leader or Project Manager from each project represents the project. A report is prepared and shared with the Business Leader and Quality Head. This report has details about non-conformances of the projects, performance improvements of the projects for the last quarter. Also, it has observations from the project teams regarding any process improvements that could be useful.
  • Monthly Quality Improvement Meeting: The Business Leader conducts a monthly Quality Improvement Meeting with the Quality Head, Quality Representatives, representatives from project team (project manager / project leader), support or engineering team representatives to review the non-conformances, issues if any, dependencies and suggestions for improvements. Suggestions accepted by Business Leader are considered for process improvements and once approved, become part of the Process Improvement Plan.
  • Process Improvement Meetings: These are meetings in which the teams responsible for process improvements meet on a periodic basis. These meetings are conducted by the Process Team Leader for Process Improvements. Depending on the urgency of the improvements required, the meetings are organized as daily scrums and/ or weekly review meetings. The progress of the process improvements are reviewed here, dependencies like hardware, software, resources required, etc. are discussed and usually resolved upfront. If there are some escalations required, such escalations are shared by the Process Team Leader with the Business Leader. These meetings could be attended by the Quality Representatives, Business Leaders, Support / Project representatives, if they are specifically required for the same.
  • Quarterly Process Review Meeting: This meeting is conducted by the Business Leader to review progress of process management initiatives, note the improvements in processes, take actions to remove impediments and take corrective actions wherever needed. The action items are formalized for the next quarter and are considered for review for the next Quarterly Process Review Meeting.

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