The use of Gantt charts for enabling interprocess integration and knowledge management in the A&D industry is a best practice for also managing process-intensive projects (Singh, Keil, Kasi, 2009). These include the development of new computer systems and advanced technologies where the project needs to capture the knowledge to fulfill its objectives. Project management's core set of tools therefore needs to be focused on how to augment and strengthen project performance while also capturing process and product knowledge critical to its success (Besner, Hobbs, 2006). The combining of Gantt charts, progress reports, change requests and the use of kick-off meetings to set objectives is critical in this regard.
Recommendations to Project Managers Using the Product Launch Activity Plan
The pro-forma Product Launch Activity Plan shown in Table 1 of the Appendix is designed to provide project managers with a framework to define a Gantt chart to manage the new product introduction process. The coordination of a product launch requires project managers to be knowledgeable of each phase of the product development process, from Product Definition to Launch. The pro-forma Product Launch Activity Plan also incorporates the use of dependencies which can be reflected in a Gantt chart to show time-based and resource-based dependencies as well. Project management professionals have also mentioned that Scope statements are Requirements Analysis are among the two most critical tools they have at their use (Besner, Hobbs, 2006). The use of these two deliverables at the front end of the product launch process is specifically defined to further gain consensus and increase the likelihood of project success. The progression of tasks is also based on the chronological series of events necessary to prepare for a product launch. In using this mold as a means to better manage the interrelated tasks and programs, project managers will also be able to coordinate with product development leaders in the event there is a change in the launch date as well. The ability to have project management plans that are structured enough for gain attainment yet agile enough to respond to market conditions is a best practice (Singh, Keil, Kasi, 2009). This is the goal of the template shown in the appendix; to provide structure for attaining the product introduction yet have enough flexibility to attain the project goals even if the product development timeframes shift.
Project management's project plan is the catalyst of making entire projects attainable as it provides the necessary coordination, collaboration and constraint-based management of tasks and resources (Besner, Hobbs, 2006). The challenges for project managers, while multifaceted and complex are most challenging in the balancing of the learning of techniques and technologies on the one hand and the approach to managing others to gain their support and effort on the other (Dayan, Di Benedetto, Colak, 2009). The many challenges in attaining this type of balance can be seen in the Aerospace & Defense industries' Project Management Office (PMO role of managing to constraints while also mitigating resistance to change through the use of transformational leadership (Singh, Keil, Kasi, 2009). From product introductions (Burkett, 2005) to the development of supply chains (Dyer, Nobeoka, 2000) project management is a discipline that can in addition to delivering completed tasks also significantly increase the ability of companies to compete using knowledge. (Besner, Hobbs, 2006).
Table 1: Product Launch Activity Plan
Update as needed
Product Lifecycle Management
Product Launch Activity / Phase
Product Marketing Deliverables
SCOPE STATEMENT And REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS
Brand Identity (Trademarking)
Product Names/Descriptions (Branding)
Product Labelling/branding (w / Corp Marketing)
Preliminary Spec Sheet
Customer Focused Product Announcement Document
Internal Sales Information Document
Product Information Document
Update Competitive Information
Publish Final Price List
Sales Training (w / Sales Engineering)
Update websites (w / Corp Marketing)
Press Release (Corp Marketing - optional)
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Singh, R., Keil, M., & Kasi, V.. (2009). Identifying and overcoming the challenges of implementing…