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Improving Collaboration for Product & Service Development
American Productivity & Quality Center, APQC, June 2010, Pages: 79
The increasingly distributed and complex nature of today’s work force makes collaboration a daunting challenge for product and service development teams. With this report, Improving Collaboration for Product and Service Development, The report examines nine best practices that successful organizations employ to enable effective collaboration across geographical and functional boundaries. The best practices are grouped into four focus areas: collaboration guidelines, roles and responsibilities, tools and technologies, and collaboration outcomes.
Organizations showcased in this report include The Dow Chemical Company, Intel Corporation, and Xerox Corporation
The increasingly distributed and complex nature of today’s work force makes collaboration a daunting challenge for product and service development teams. With this study, APQC set out to uncover the practices that successful organizations employ to enable effective, fruitful collaboration across geographical and functional boundaries. The study team learned that best-practice organizations have established guidelines for collaboration that are centralized and accessible to all development teams. Each team is given the freedom to identify those guidelines that best support the efforts of the project and follow them accordingly.
Moreover, organizations provide a cadre of tools and technologies that teams leverage to effectively collaborate. Best-practice partner Intel, in particular, (perhaps due to its core competency as a technology organization) provides multiple technologies and notes that early adopters—those who use non-enterprise or newer technologies—help the organization identify those tools that are easy-to-use and easy-to-support and that best enable collaboration.
Of particular interest to our research group was how development-team roles and responsibilities are structured. We discovered that best-practice organizations have clear accountabilities communicated to the development teams. The program and project manager role is of particular importance because this person is held accountable for ensuring effective collaboration. This accountability carries through the development effort, and each team member understands the impact his or her contribution makes.
In terms of assessing the impact collaboration has on development teams, the study team uncovered that most measures are implicit at best and that most of the impact is quantified by the success of the development project itself. Other indicators such as team communication and feedback serve to gauge the impact collaboration has on product and service development success.
The objectives of this study were to:
- identify best practices in establishing and improving collaboration,
- discover successful tactics for working across geographical and functional boundaries,
- analyze successful project and program management roles and standardized and documented processes used by organizations to remain competitive in a global environment, and
- find out how product development and collaboration tools have been successful in improving the outcomes of product and service development.
In support of these objectives, the study team worked with the subject matter expert to identify organizations with proven successes in the following scope areas:
- developing effective guidelines for collaboration in product/service development,
- defining roles and responsibilities to improve collaboration,
- understanding the technologies and tools that enhance successful collaboration, and
- evaluating collaboration in product/service development.
Project Personnel and Copyright
Sponsor and Partner Organizations
Chapter 1: Collaboration Guidelines, the Overture
Chapter 2: Roles and Responsibilities, the Players
Chapter 3: Tools and Technologies, the Instruments
Chapter 4: Collaboration Outcome, the Standing Ovation
Case Study: The Dow Chemical Company
Case Study: Intel Corporation
Case Study: Xerox Corporation
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