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By Geoff Vincent (auth.)

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Suppose that, for a particular industrial process, the pressure inside a chamber must follow a particular pre-set pattern as the process develops. The profile depends on time, and also on the conditions of the process (including temperature). At present, this is all controlled manually. A computer-controlled vacuum pump is wanted that will provide the required pressure at each stage automatically. This is a project which involves mechanical engineering, electronics and software. We will assume that some sort of requirements specification exists as the result of a previous feasibility study, and that a laboratory model has proved the viability of the control techniques proposed.

Software does not require production engineering of this nature. It does, however, need to be engineered in another sense. It should be robust and 36 MANAGING NEW-PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT give sensible results whatever use it is put to. A one-off project, such as a new company accounts system, does not need to be produced in quantity. It should, however, be reliable. And it should be easy to change as the company grows or alters and its requirements change. Such projects do not have a production engineering phase.

A deputy, on the other hand, may feel reluctant to make decisions that could be overturned. On any but the smallest project a full time leader is needed who has the responsibility and the authority to make key 42 MANAGING NEW-PRODUcr DEVELOPMENT decisions. Some decisions, of course, have to be referred upward. The project leader should have regular access to senior management to explain what is happening on the project and to request support where necessary. COMMISSIONING AUTHORITY ,. 3 expresses the relationship between commlsslomng authority, project leader and project team.

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