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288 Risk management technology in financial services
Another critical factor supported by well-done DRs is timing and duration of the
project. As we saw in section 15.2, it is desirable to have design reviews at more than
one point in the design and development cycle of a new product. In the aftermath,
timetables are kept in perspective, and because the project manager knows that delays
become transparent he/she is doing the utmost to avoid them.
A similar statement applies in regard to functionality targeted by the project. This
is particularly true as many DRs highlight one crucial point at a time which may
be marketing requirements, manufacturing engineering, simulation results or mainte-
nance issues. They may also promote stress testing of ‘this’ or ‘that’ characteristic of
the product.
This ‘one’ critical issue may be a foreground or background factor. It may be
recommended by an emergency, demanded by the CEO or be chosen because of the
chronological order in which a DR takes place. For instance, preliminary reviews are
usually held at product concept and planning; proposal, bid or request for funds; and
when authorization or a contract is received.
Whichever may be the trigger, companies with DR experience recommend that the
first design review must establish bridges for early communication between marketing,
engineering, purchasing, and manufacturing and maintenance. Also, it should leave
no ambiguity in confirming the concept of product design as truly representative of
the market’s or customer’s requirements. This is intended to expose and correct:
Divergent requirements, or
Interpretations that were made in a hurry.
It is redundant to state that final reviews should be held when the project is
completed, but for reasons of expedience some firms fail to do so. Yet, pre-production
units should be tested and analysed, and a final re-evaluation of all crucial project
features must also be done. This is the last opportunity to refocus without seriously
affecting schedules and at a cost significantly less than field changes.
In my experience, the best goal for the final DR is to concentrate on system
performance requirements, critical cumulative tolerances and instruction manuals, in
addition to all items previously studied. On this occasion action should be taken to
dispose of all questions still outstanding, because this is probably the last time the
development project holds together. Shortly thereafter human resources will assume
new duties.
15.6 Highlights of structured design review meetings
Let’s start with the principle that every well-managed project is subject to steady
control which keeps in perspective explicit requirements. Planning without control
is daydreaming, but control cannot be exercised without rigorous planning princi-
ples. Within this context, major and minor design reviews are part of the company’s
progress review culture. They help management to appreciate what it takes to main-
tain state-of-the-art development and provide feedback on results of verification. As
projects continue to increase in complexity,

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