PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report by online news site Engineering.com found that 92 percent of queried engineers and designers believe product complexity has increased over the past five years. Additionally, 83 percent of teams experienced at least one form of product outcome failure like excessive cost or regulatory challenges. Despite these trends, only 15 percent of those surveyed rely on a requirements management system to bring order to product development. In many cases, weak coordination between teams led to product failures and regulatory issues.
"Engineers, often in distributed teams, start complex product designs with a stack of product specifications -- and the more complex the product, the taller the stack," says Roopinder Tara, Director of Content at Engineering.com. "In addition, there may be a stack of regulatory requirements. It's remarkable that engineers, for the most part, do not know about or take advantage of sophisticated requirement management systems to help manage the stacks."
Completed in late 2018, the survey, titled Design Teams: Requirements Management and Product Complexity, queried 246 designers and engineers to identify trends in product complexity, as well as the impact that complexity may be having on product quality, launch timing, regulatory review and other issues. Respondents worked in consumer products, medical equipment, natural resources, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and other sectors.
Increased product complexity can be traced to several causes. In the study, 57 percent felt mechanical designs were becoming more intricate; 47 percent cited additional electronics; 43 percent mentioned different materials; and, 40 percent noted demands for reduced weight. These factors are often combined – 76 percent reported increases in three or more complexity metrics. Highly regulated industries, such as medical equipment, faced even more challenges.
This complexity goes hand-in-hand with additional product requirements. In fact, the survey found that 47 percent of respondents had to manage five or more types of requirements during product development, ranging from regulatory to product safety requirements. Engineers and designers must factor in safety, regulatory demands, features, marketing, hardware and other needs.
Despite these demands, the majority of teams do not use a dedicated external system to manage their requirements. The survey showed 85 percent of respondents relied on spreadsheets and other documents, existing product data management (PDM)/product lifecycle management (PLM) software, or internally developed solutions.
While 81 percent of these respondents felt their systems effectively manage their company's product development process, this belief does not align with their actual experiences –with 60 percent experiencing more than one type of production outcome failure due to poor requirements management. The survey showed poor coordination causing significant failures: 46 percent cited increased product costs; 36 percent said products were shipped without meeting all requirements; and, 27 percent noted regulatory challenges. Sixty-two percent of the companies had been reprimanded by a regulator. Those with dedicated requirements management systems faced fewer issues.
"Products are becoming more and more complex across industries," said Scott Roth, CEO of Jama Software, a leading product development platform provider. "Engineering teams are experiencing this firsthand, and this in-depth survey on the current state of product development bears out the repercussions from lost time to market to regulatory fines. Companies that have invested in platforms with robust requirements management are ahead of the curve and will remain ahead of the competition."
A copy of Design Teams: Requirements Management and Product Complexity is available for download here.
About Jama Software
Jama Software is a leading product development platform provider for companies building complex products and integrated systems. The Jama Product Development Platform helps companies establish a Predictive Product Development process — to mitigate risk, improve quality, identify opportunities and decrease time to market — via an integrated solution for guiding the product lifecycle from idea to launch. More than 600 innovative companies use Jama Software to modernize their product development process. The company is headquartered in Portland, Ore. To learn more, visit www.jamasoftware.com.
SOURCE Jama Software; Engineering.com