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Past audio sessions

FastTrack Members have access to downloadable audio, slides and transcripts for these sessions (if available). 
Complete Audio Session Archive (accessible to FastTrack members only)

Assessing Technology Readiness and Maturity

Audio Session: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:00pm

Emerging technology-based projects are often plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays and performance problems. In most of these cases, technology maturity analysis hasn’t been properly conducted, and immature technologies are inserted into products and systems. In this slide presentation, Has Patel discussed current technology due diligence processes and their pitfalls and presented NASA’s developed technology maturity matrix, called Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), now widely accepted by the Department of Defense. Patel also presented a technology maturity matrix which extends the TRLs, by incorporating technology life cycles, such as the technology hype and technology adoption. Finally, the presentation also included a methodology that allows an organization to select, insert and integrate emerging technologies throughout the lifecycle of a project. (36 pages)

A Capacity-Based Governance Method for Improving Engineering Performance

Audio Session: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 1:00pm

In this audio session, Ross Seider, a senior partner of On-Fire Associates describes a visual, spreadsheet-based model for capacity governance that looks at capacity planning from the standpoint of the complete project portfolio. This capacity management process creates a visualization that allows participants to prioritize activities, allocate resources, and evaluate shifting resources. Eventually, the participants in this process agree on the drawing of two horizontal lines on the visual model that distinguish between high priority projects, which are likely to be fully funded, a second level of partially-funded projects, and projects that will not be given resources during the planning horizon. This process is owned by engineering and product management; it encourages participation from all other groups in the development chain and from other stakeholders; it runs periodically; it is very efficient in terms of management time sinceit is performedmultiple times per year; it is a distributed process that expects subject matter experts to make 80 percentof the decisions and focuses senior management on the boundary conditions where there are conflicts. Finally, it is a zero-based activity – each project must re-certify its importance to the company relative to all other projects and potential projects at every iteration. (10 pages)

Lean Project Portfolios

Audio Session: Wednesday, December 6, 2006 1:00pm

In this audio session Eugene Kania describes how to create a Lean Project Portfolio – one that is high-value, achievable and executable. Kania demonstrates methods for mapping the risks and rewards associated with projects, for prioritizing elements in a portfolio and for understanding the tradeoffs involved. Kania describes a simple tool for resource planning which helps to diminish the work-in-process in the portfolio. He also describes how to use critical chain and buffers to help execute the projects within the portfolio. Kania and his colleagues have moved beyond theory, testing these methods with a number of companies, which have enjoyed greatly increased throughput, with a decrease in cycle time; these portfolio methods also resulted in greater productivity and an improvement in job satisfaction. (12 pages)

The Portfolio Sweet Spot

Audio Session: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 1:00pm

In this presentation, Richard Tait of Product Development Consulting, Inc. presents the three key value dimensions that determine the portfolio sweet spot and should be used for portfolio decision-making: customer value, strategic value and investment intensity. To deliver customer value, says Tait, understand what drives customers, what motivates them: what are the obstacles that get in their way? What’s made their jobs and their lives frustrating, difficult, challenging, impossible? What gets in the way of them being successful, both as an individual and for their company? Creating customer value involves eliminating these pain points. Strategic value is the measure of how effectively an element of the portfolio supports and drives the success of the strategy of the business unit or enterprise, and enables a business unit to meet its strategic objectives. Investment intensity is the combined level and profile of the complete complement of resources (people, dollars, materials, intellectual property, etc.) to develop a product and support its commercialization in a way that meets the targeted strategic objectives of the business. In addition to the three key value dimensions, Time-to-Market and Core Competencies are critical measures for achieving strategic balance. In this audio session, Tait presents tools to qualify and quantify many aspects of each of the three key value dimensions and to display them in a consistent fashion. (11 pages)

Open Innovation in China

Audio Session: Monday, October 16, 2006 2:30pm

A discussion with Roger Nagel (Lehigh University) and John Tao & Bobby Chen (Air Products and Chemicals). In this session, the participants discuss the important cultural cues required for successful partnering with Chinese co-developers. They also cover the use of intermediaries to establish partnerships, protecting Intellectual Property in China, and the qualities that Chinese partners are seeking in their Western counterparts. The panelists stress the need to perform due diligence in partnering with Chinese firms and the advisability of partnering with firms that have a clear track record of partnering with Western businesses. They also stress the need for a local presence to manage the relationships. Finally, the panel emphasizes taking great care and patience in building relationships of trust with your Chinese partners. (10 pages)

Selection Criteria for Global Projects

Audio Session: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 1:00pm

In this audio session, Lothar Katz, President of Leadership Crossroads, examines the key criteria for decision-making when outsourcing development projects offshore. For Katz, the level of project complexity must be mapped to the characteristics of the target culture. Some cultures, for example, have a greater aversion to uncertainty, making it difficult to perform high-risk projects in such an environment. Katz also advises that the benefits gained from global projects are far beyond cost advantages. Over time, global projects can create speed-to-market advantages as well. Katz also strongly advises companies to develop – and retain – managers with global skills and experience. Even very experienced managers can under-perform in a global context if their management experience does not include cross-border experience. Katz’s presentation lists the key factors to consider when making global project decisions and provides a country-by-country breakdown of how some of the more popular offshore outsourcing destinations perform with respect to these factors. (10 pages)

Turning on Your Innovation Light Bulb

Audio Session: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:00pm

In this audio session Sarah Caldicott, President of StarWave Associates and a descendent of Thomas Edison through his second wife, presents research on the methods used by her famous forbear to innovate and invent. Caldicott has identified five competencies used by Edison in his work, which include unstoppable persistence, kaleidoscopic thinking, balancing the creative and the practical, building high-performance collaborative teams, and moving markets. Caldicott presents the reasons why examining Edison’s methods is useful today and provides a number of specific steps that make Edison’s approaches applicable to 21st century corporate environments. (12 pages)

Co-Developing Products in Asia

Audio Session: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 1:00pm

In this audio session, Lothar Katz, principal consultant at Leadership Crossroads and a former Vice President and General Manager at Texas Instruments, shares his insights into co-developing products with Asian partners. Based on empirical studies, Katz points out the key cultural differences – group-orientation, relationship to authority andattitude towarduncertainty – that are the most challenging when collaborating globally. Katz outlines the very significant differences between China, Korea, India, and Japan and how to best motivate teams based in these countries. The speaker also cites American cultural traits that might cause difficulties for Asian counterparts and touches on the question of protecting Intellectual Property. A Question & Answer session with practitioners provides examples of applying Katz’s principles to individual cases. (10 pages)

Design for Uncertainty

Audio Session: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:00pm

In this audio session, Preston Smith, of consultancy New Product Dynamics, presents techniques for enhancing flexible product development. He discusses why flexibility is valuable and mentions some of the tradeoffs involved. Smith also discusses the role of customers and their requirements in a flexible environment. He presents some detailed techniques for fostering a flexible product development process through product architectures, experimentation and the use of set-based design. He also examines the impact of flexible product development on internal factors such as development teams, decision-making, project management and the product development process. This presentation provides a comprehensive overview of some of the latest thinking on innovative, flexible approaches to product development. (11 pages)

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