Fast Projects with Sanity Mini-Book
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QRPD®: Quality Rapid Product Development
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Partial QRPD Glossary

This partial glossary defines several of the key QRPD concepts. A full glossary is contained in the guidebook Projects at Warp-Speed with QRPD®: The Definitive Guidebook to Quality Rapid Product Development, by Orion Kopelman and Cinda Voegtli.

Chicken Test
"Chicken Test" is a term which originally referred to the testing of jet engines: Before an engine design could be fully developed, the project team learned to shoot live chickens from a cannon straight into the turbines--thus determining if the design could survive this crucial "chicken test" before it got too far underway.

Chicken tests on QRPD projects are done at two levels: 

  1. Innovations chicken tests:  a test of each individual technological innovation that is a major or higher risk. A "major" technological innovation is one that has been implemented elsewhere only a few times, and never yet in-house.  See the risk assessment table under Commandment #1.
  2. The system chicken test is the critical point in the project:  the point at which the fundamental overall design has been proven to hang together.  This  typically occurs early in the integration testing timeframe in phase II; it should occur no later than the 50% point of the project.

Every project must eventually undergo and pass a system-level chicken test before you know that your major technical risks are past.  The only question is how late in the project you will discover that you may need to take a different technological approach.  Obviously, the earlier the better.

Flow
A methodology that has a set of phases that represent true progress on a project.  All phases involved committed cross-functional involvement but the emphasis changes depending on the phase.  A feature of a QRPD Flow methodology involved concurrent iterative cross-functional planning in the initial phase of the project.

Phase exits are only useful if they measure true progress on the project not just the completion of the requisite paperwork.

Mission
This is the difference between a stone cutter that thinks he is cutting stone and another that thinks he is building a cathedral.  It is about providing projects with empowered teams and effective leadership.

PTCR
This is the fundamental tradeoff that all projects must manage:

  • Performance (Customer focused measures of success contained in the QRPD Vision)
  • Time (Project schedule with measurable milestones)
  • Cost (Project Budget: Capital costs and clear roles and responsibilities)
  • Risk (Technical and management risk on project)

QRPD Phase one is complete when you have team and management commitment to a Vision, Schedule, Budget and Risk that represent the final outcome of concurrent and interactive tradeoffs.

Vision
The QRPD vision is a one or two page document that the entire team writes iteratively. It contains the specific target customers, their measure of success, the project key features and the key financial goals.  It is the one document that everyone on the team can have up on their wall and it represents the final decisions that the project team made on performance measures after "see-sawing" through the tradeoffs.

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