Product Lifecycle Managment Decisions
A product is the sum of a stream of decisions. The product’s function, its form and how long it takes to develop and manufacture all evolve from the quality of these decisions. Controlling this stream is the role of the Product Lifecycle Process. Where tools like CAD capture drawings and models, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) captures data and progress, it is the Product Lifecycle Process that drives the best use of these tools.
If the Product Lifecycle Process is nothing more than the control of the decisions made, then cost and time overruns are also a factor of the quality of the process. In one government agency that develops bleeding edge technologies, cost overruns ranged from 31% (small projects) to 315% (very large projects).
Generally, product failures are thought of as management problems. But often they are problems of a poor Product Lifecycle Process. Specifically, for the government agency, there were clear points in the process used in budgeting that lead to the poor results and a change in this process has reduced the overruns significantly.
To read more on decision-making in the Product Lifecycle Process, see David Ullman’s paper "Decision-Thinking in PLM", an unpublished paper sponsored by Siemens PLM Software
Or his text The Mechanical Design Process, 6th edition.