Recent Work

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A selection of TCGen’s recent work on trends in product development.

Agile Superpowers: Four Best Practices You Have Never Heard Of

While many organizations have implemented Agile, in typically the Scrum form, other organizations are struggling with how to implement it given the corporate anti-bodies that resist change of any kind.  This presentation, given recently to a large organization's Community of Practice group reveals four Superpowers that are designed especially for companies on the precipice.  One Superpower is "Boundary Conditions Management".  This extraordinary next practice defines a flexible contract between management and teams AND an agreed upon exception management decision path when the team is Out of Bounds.  Bridges trust gaps and eliminates micromanagement in one step!

Sprints and Demos: Twin Beacons of Accountability

The time has come to de-mystify Agile. Our research and client work show that even those software firms that boast about being Agile do not necessarily follow every point in the Agile Manifesto. They apply only a very small portion of Agile practices – and they’re having remarkable success with this approach. Developers of tangible products, be they consumer electronics, medical equipment, or pharmaceuticals, can also benefit from applying select practices from the Agile body of knowledge to speed products to market. Two of the most effective and beneficial of these practices are sprints and demos. Powered by these twin aspects of Agile, developers of all manner of products can increase accountability and make programs faster and more predictable. 

Waterfall or Agile? Do Both!

“Agile and Waterfall development processes are like oil and water. They don’t mix.” “Software development is totally different from hardware; Agile only works for software.” “Applying Agile is all or nothing.” “You must be able to ship every two weeks.” We hear these statements all the time from hardware teams that are trying to increase speed and predictability in their product development projects. The reality is that hybrid processes that mix the discipline and long-term planning of Waterfall with the adaptability and speed of Agile are not only possible – they are best-in-class. 

Agile For Everyone: Enabling Agile in a Waterfall World

By elevating product teams above functional allegiance, organizing work into sprints, and nesting these sprints within your existing process, any team, in virtually any industry, can become agile. The benefits software firms have realized from Agile are a result of applying a remarkably small number of practices. Many teams are surprised to find that the benefits of Agile rely largely – and unexpectedly – on restraining functional authority over teams. (white paper, 6 pages)

Getting The Fuzz Out of the Front End: A System for Managing The Earliest Stages of Product Development

In too many companies, the front end of product development remains as fuzzy as it was decades ago. Many companies manage the front end in a haphazard way, not because it is unmanageable but because they do not have proven processes to realize their product strategy. What managers don’t understand is that there are two components of successful management of the fuzzy front end: 1) a yearly, systematic portfolio planning process, tied to budgeting and 2) an on-going process for selecting the product concepts that will realize the company’s strategy and move them into the product pipeline. (white paper, 11 pages).

Developing Innovative Products Across Hardware, Software and Web Platforms

Technology products today involve customer experiences that include multiple platforms: hardware, software and the web. This paper first discusses the unique challenges of multi-platform development and then presents a threefold approach for integrating hardware and software disciplines. It also features five tools that help to integrate multiple platforms into a successful product delivery (white paper, 17 pages).

PMI Annual Symposium: The Agile Hardware Research Project, Discoveries and Solutions

This benchmark study examined the application of Agile software practices to hardware programs. What are the best practices? And how have hardware groups implemented Agile development? This research on more than 20 leading firms discovered the key elements of Agile that can accelerate hardware or mixed development programs (presentation, 25 slides).

PMI Silicon Valley Symposium: Agile Project Management in a Waterfall World

Based on survey research, this presentation provides a model for how elements of Agile Software Methodology may apply to complex hardware/software programs. This presentation shows how to transform Agile tools to increase the speed and flexibility of hardware programs (presentation, 23 slides).


Project Histories

Project Retrospectives to Improve Product Development

TCGen’s project history process enables teams to identify the genuine root causes of bottlenecks, schedule slips and other issues. Project retrospectives provide analyses of past projects that are fact-based, cross-functional and actionable. This presentation discusses a step-by-step process for project retrospectives: who should be on the team, how to gather and analyze the data, how to prepare for the retrospective, etc. (presentation, 15 slides).


Social Innovation

Social Innovation Benchmark Study II: Application of Social Technologies to Product Development

Social innovation allows teams to innovate quickly and repeatedly. This is one key finding from a benchmark study examining the trend of using online communities to inform product development. This presentation reveals the five fundamental components that enable success in social innovation (presentation, 14 slides).