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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recommended Study Approaches

The material to be presented in this blog is structured similar to a text book but with some important differences. It can be studied by individuals but it is more effective to study as a team of four to six people. If there are more than six people studying then break up into more teams. The best and most effective study approach is for a team that is just starting a new product development project to study this material together and to use the recommended exercises to develop required documentation for their project. Thus this material becomes an adjunct guide during the systems engineering phase of their work. If only one individual or one team is studying then save the results of the exercises electronically so that these results can be reused on future product developments. If more than one team is studying it helps to do the exercises either on flip charts to facilitate sharing each team’s results or in a facility that enables electronic sharing of exercise results.
If a team isn't at the beginning of a new project the second best study approach is for the team to invent a straw man product and work through the material developing documentation for the straw man product. It is critical that the straw man product be as close as possible to a typical product the organization typically develops. The reason is that the documentation developed during the study of this material is intended to become the first generation of templates that are reusable on future product developments.
If an individual  is studying this material on their own then either the straw man product approach can be used or choose a previous product from the organization's development history for the exercises.
Since these blogs are posted over time it is not effective for a team assigned to a new project to use these blog articles for training because their work should progress much faster than the articles will be posted. The recommended approach is for a manager with training ability or a trainer to study the blogs and use the blogs material to develop a training course that can be taught to a team in three to five days. The individual articles will be grouped into chapters and the chapters will be posted to a site that enables them to be down loaded and assembled into a training manual or a guidebook for self-training. Alternatively a team or teams can study from the blog articles by meeting briefly every few days and discussing the articles posted. In this case using a straw man product for the exercise will be effective.

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