Visualizing Your Pathing Is The Key To A Good Product

Product development is a strategy, which, in simple terms, can be referred to as the strategy for the successful development of a new product. It, in fact, is the first step in the development of a product(s). Sometimes, an existing product is backed by such strategies to attain more success, or to increase its reach.

Early inclusion and parallel outline are key targets of coordinated products development. The accomplishment of these targets is reliant upon how individuals cooperate and sort out product and process development activities. Subsequently, organizational approaches are basic to the accomplishment of lean product development.

As a developer becomes bigger and products turn out to be more complex, developer structures work to deal with the inexorably large organization size, the technical complexity of the product, and the specialization that advances to ace this complexity. Another factor that happens in growth is the geographic dispersion of individuals and useful divisions. These elements restrain a large number of the casual connections that beforehand gave successful correspondence and coordination between functional disciplines.

A various leveled association structure with developers directed by functional developer ends up noticeably unequipped for organizing the many strides to give successful early contribution and parallel outline. Cross-functional product development is an approach to breakdown this product complexity and set up together the important aptitudes and assets to help more viable product and process development.

Product development teams are framed with a workforce from various utilitarian offices to help the plan, improvement, and progress to the creation of another product. These teams give a component to encourage the prior contribution of the key capacities that are engaged with the outline, generation, and support of an item. This early contribution is planned to bring about the outline and generation of a product on plan and inside the spending that brings down in taken a toll, higher in quality, and more reliable and supportable.

Different ways to visualize critical pathing

Different ways to visualize critical pathing seems to put developers in difficulty and especially the novice ones. However, if anyone would take just a few minutes from his precious time to pay a closer attention to it things would be a lot clearer.

In order to clear things up, we need to have background knowledge. In short, it all started with the Critical Pathing which is an algorithm for planning activities within a product. This method is best used in the product scheduling phase and basically, it requires developing a strategy for the project that includes:

  • The list of activities needed to complete the project (aka Work Breakdown Structure defined in the project planning phase)
  • the duration estimates for these activities
  • The dependent state between the tasks

Graphical representation

There are two possibilities to render the structure created according to Critical Pathing: activity on arrow and activity on the node. The most used representation nowadays is the activity on the node. The activities are rendered as nodes and each node contains the duration of that activity while the dependencies are rendered as arrows where the arrowhead points to the successor while the tail to the predecessor.

To some extent, a Gantt chart can also be considered as a Critical Pathing presentation although a more complex one.

Timelines as pathing visuals

Once the project manager establishes the product plan and the critical pathing is identified things are not finished. During the tracking phase of the project, changes may occur and this might influence the critical pathing. For this reason, the developers must always watch over the critical pathing and its evolution. Even the smallest change in the duration of a task can completely change it.

The Critical Pathing

Simply put it is represented by every task that determines the end-date of the product. The tasks from that path are called critical tasks. If any of those tasks is delayed, then the product end date would also be delayed. However, not all the tasks from the project are on the critical path. This happens due to the slack of the product. The slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed without indirectly impacting the end date of the project. The Critical Pathing methodology is simply a technique to identify all the tasks that will directly impact the product end date.

In conclusion, a plan generated using Critical Pathing technique is often not too precise because estimations are used to compute it. For products with a higher level of uncertainty in their evolution, a better alternative solution is the Product Evaluation and Review Technique. Product Evaluation and Review Technique is a variation on Critical Pathing Analysis that allows a range of durations to be specified for each activity. To use it, the developer should estimate the shortest, the most likely and the longest time that an activity can take to complete.


Photo Credit : Visual Thinking Techniques / Beth Kanter / CC BY

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