Product development is a creative team process. Engineers and designers take on the difficult task of creating a product that meets all the customer’s needs and wants. The team typically strives for product perfection but unfortunately perfection can never be achieved due to time and money constraints. Therefore, in order to get the product shipped and into the hands of customers, it is important to prevent unnecessary product design changes so the team can go out and manufacture the product for sale.
Product design change is sometimes seen as the enemy of an efficient and cost effective product development process. Of course, change is inevitable and necessary but minimizing unnecessary product change is important to keep the project on schedule and within budget while continuing to meet all the product specifications. Here is the insider’s perspective on why a product development team should avoid design changes when possible.
- The objective of the product development team is to deliver a product to a target customer. If change isn’t managed properly, the team members will each make “required” changes based on their own opinions and needs. This will result in change chaos.
- In order to validate that the product design meets the customer’s quality requirements, the product must be tested. If changes are continually being made in the background, there will never be a stable design that can be formally qualified.
- If engineers and designers were allowed to continuously change the product design, it would be almost impossible to know what design was qualified and which to manufacture.
- Changes should only be made if product defects and issue arise. A defect or issue can be raised by anybody on the product development team and the program manager can determine if it is worthy of making a change based on change management rules. Why change if there isn’t a defect?
- If the product development team has a rigorous defect review process and change system, then only necessary changes will result from the product change management system.
- Changes cost money and take time. When a change is made, the product development team must make the modifications to the product and qualify the change. This sometimes requires that fabrication tools are scrapped or test data is retaken. This can take significant time and delay the product sale.
Avoid making unnecessary changes to be part of a successful product development team.