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Efficient Product Development

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Continuing a short series of exclusive guest blogs with us, Delogue posts their second here. Delogue integrates communication, product data, and project management in one platform for both suppliers and designers. In this blog, Mathilde Egeberg Hvidtfeldt, shares some tips on efficient product development.

A fluid process

The key to a thriving business is to take many different aspects into consideration. One of these aspects is the way you manage your product development. Product development has evolved through the years, from being recognized as a part of the manufacturing process to being viewed as a vital part of the value chain within a business.

While manufacturing consists of more automatic and monotone processes (and often involves creating a physical product), product development is constantly evolving due to changes within the company, the suppliers or the needs of the customers.  Product development is a fluid process, which makes it all the more complex to manage. The solution? Make it simple, but effective.  As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

Searching for “already-there” information is a waste of time

The progress of product development largely consists of a flow of information such as design documentation, test procedures and results, and various instructions. Spending an endless amount of time looking through numerous documents to find a missing piece of knowledge, and searching for information in an outdated email correspondence, is a waste of time and resource, and leads to multiple interruptions.

A way to simplify this information flow could be by choosing the right product management tool, thereby giving you a simple and approachable understanding of your product. Categorizing and directing the correct information to the right recipient could help this process, but it involves everybody in the company working in the exact same way.

This is where choosing the correct PDM tool becomes highly relevant.

Multitasking leads to distractions

A study performed by David Meyer, of the University of Michigan, showed that switching what you’re doing mid-task increases the time it takes you to finish both tasks by a staggering 25%. This is why thinking that the sooner the project is started the sooner it will be finished, is a common mistake. In general, employees are far too concerned with being able to multitask, taking on different tasks instead of shutting off distractions and completing one task at the time. One of the main interruptions is the constant flow of e-mails that may or may not be relevant to an employee, but nonetheless takes away their focus.

It takes 15 minutes to return a project after interruption

In a study by Eric Horwitz, a scientist from Microsoft, it was discovered that it took people an average of 15 minutes to return to their important projects every time they were interrupted by e-mails, phone calls, or other messages. Furthermore, the study showed that these interruptions led the employees to stray to other activities such as surfing the web. One solution is to direct emails to the recipient who actually works with the subject. This will also decrease the amount of “CC-just-in-case-you-need-info”-emails that are clogging up your inbox. By simply targeting the information where it’s most needed, you save a lot of time and frustrations among your co-workers.

Intelligent laziness is efficiency

Being busy just for the sake of being busy is a great misunderstanding.

American author, Dr. Travis Bradberry, recently wrote an article in which he stated, “beyond interruptions, busyness reduces productivity because there’s a bottleneck in the brain that prevents us from concentrating on two things at once. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.”

Furthermore he states that we are drawn to being busy despite the fact that this hinders our productivity, and that we use busyness to hide from our laziness and fear of failure. But why not embrace this laziness? Intelligent laziness isefficiency, and cutting some corners is perfectly fine, as long as it helps to make ends meet in a faster and more effective way.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Tips on efficient product development:

  • Simplify and categorize the flow of information or choose a PDM-tool to do the work for you.
  • Focus you work – start your day by making a to-do list and prioritize your tasks
  • Pause or turn off distractions like phone and email
  • Avoid overlapping projects and taking on more tasks than manageable – delegate!

Look out for Delogue’s third guest blog in the coming weeks. 

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for over six years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like the Annual Review, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.