Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Companies that design complex products all have their horror stories. Yet they can all avoid mistakes by ensuring that the different teams responsible for developing the components of the product communicate more effectively.A new application of an established project management tool, the design structure matrix, can help a company not only identify where failures in planned communications could occur (usually bad), but also recognize when project teams engage in technical communications that were not planned (usually good). If a company finds that a lot of planned communication is not taking place, then it should revisit its product development organization. Even projects that are completely organized around a product’s architecture are typically vulnerable to communication breakdowns.A company can ensure that critical communication occurs by tasking special teams (or the teams involved) with making sure that the right people talk to each other. It’s also important to ensure that the teams are working with the optimum communication tools.