The define phase is about a clear project definition and getting support and approval for the execution. Two key elements in this phase are the Charter and the start of Stakeholder management.
A high-level project description of ‘which customers we are going to satisfy with what, by when and how this fits in our business’ will be summarized in a charter. To this end, the charter contains smart descriptions of:
- The business relevance – the link with the business roadmap en the reason why to do this project now and not another project.
- The opportunity statement – what needs to be innovated for whom. What are the challenges the target customers experience and what is their desired end-state. Therefore the statement is written in the language of the customer. And it contains no solutions! The value proposition made by Marketing is input for the opportunity statement
- The objective statement – what will be delivered by the project, when and by whom.
- In addition, the Scope, Restrictions and Risks for the project are laid down in the charter.
A Charter or Project Start Document is common practice in R&D projects. It is a basic part of Project Management. In the DfSS Charter the focus is on those aspects which relate directly to customer satisfaction. It is not a replacement of the project management charter. Moreover, some very important and typical project management aspects such as budgets, resources and timeline are not specifically addressed by DfSS.
In the define phase stakeholder management is initiated. R&D engineers do not work on their own on the project. They need to take into account the interests of the stakeholders. Innovation projects typically have many different stakeholders, each having their own personal and business interest. Stakeholder management involves an enrollment plan. This is a plan how and when to engage every key stakeholder.
The human behavior factor is crucial to achieve the improvement results. In the end, it is the people who sustain changes. Stakeholder management aims at success and evaluation criteria that are agreed to by all key stakeholders. And of course at obtaining management approval for executing the project.
The typical CQM way of working to make the statements in the charter clear and smart in combination with stakeholder management prevents a false start of the project. This approach frequently results in a shorter development time.
In order to facilitate the Define phase, CQM developed templates for the DfSS Charter, Value propositions and Stakeholder management. See more at: /free-templates.