The project life cycle is a basic concept in project management. In this article, we present a real example.
The project life cycle for creating a completely new generation of technological product
Market research, competitors, and consumers – we will get the information about washing machines on the market needed to determine their specific aspects. The market research focuses on the study and analysis of consumer behavior and decision-making processes (motives), which includes the study of consumer attitudes about the main characteristics and their relative weight to the specific product – this identifies the factors influencing consumers. This data is later used by the marketing department to create a marketing strategy for market entry. Through market research, we understand what is sought, what is offered, and what we need to achieve. All data about the industry are summarized – what services and products are currently offered, who are the main consumers, what commercial practices are used, etc. By monitoring the market, one can take ideas from already started companies in this branch, study their processes and avoid unwanted mistakes. Reference: Project lifecycle – a real-life example from a project management course
The analysis of competitors begins with a study of the largest and most famous competitors. Those who have achieved something so far or even managed to impose a monopoly are those companies from which we must learn and take ideas for development. Their practices for presence on the Internet, promotion, and advertising of a website, products, services, brand (brand), etc. are studied.
It is at this stage that it is good to make a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses/areas for improvement, opportunities, threats), which we will use in strategic planning. Reference: “What is the Project life cycle in project management”, https://bvop.org/posts/projectlifecycle/
Creating a business model for product production.
The business model is the way our company will make money. It includes strategy and planning, finances, processes and operations, and all kinds of flows: of money, goods, and information that we will need for the market, potential customers, and the necessary infrastructure. This is the “way of doing business”, the logic by which value is created and delivered to customers, but also in return we receive a value that allows our business to grow.
The business model is the values that the company provides to customers.
The values that the company receives in return and everything else needed to make this goal sustainable. The business model combines all this: markets, customers, customer business, customer results and barriers, resources, business processes, and values.
There are a wide variety of ready-made business models on the market today that any company can use. One of them is the Canvas Business Model.
This model presents the 9 main elements of a business model + the important questions we need to answer to determine the characteristics of these elements. These are:
1. Customer Segments
Who do we create value for?
Who are our most important customers?
2. Value that the business offers (Value Proposition)
What value do we offer to our customers?
What are the problems of our clients that we solve?
What customer needs do we meet?
3. Customer Relationships
What kind of relationships do our customers expect?
What relationships have we already established?
How do they integrate with the rest of our business model?
How do we serve customers?
Through which channels do we want to reach our customer segments?
Which channels are most cost-effective?
5. Key Resources
What are the key resources/tools we need to: create the unique value we offer; build our distribution channels: do we have sources of revenue?
6. Key Activities
What are the key activities that need to be done to:
We create the unique value we offer;
Build our distribution channels; do we have sources of income?
7. Key Partners
Who are our key partners?
Who are our key suppliers?
What resources do we receive from partners?
What are the main activities that our partners perform?
8. Cost Structure
What are the biggest costs in our entire business model?
Which Key Resources are the most expensive?
Which Key Activities are the most expensive?
9. Revenue Streams
What are the ways we earn income?
For what value are our customers willing to pay?
How much do they pay for such products/services at the moment?
How do they pay at the moment?
How would you prefer to pay?
Product prototype design
Product prototyping is important because it provides a real test of the design. Something that can be seen and experienced in a real situation. In our case, we could trust an external company specializing in this field, as buying our prototyping equipment is still expensive. There is a wide variety of proven companies on the market that have efficient CNC machines, 3D printers, and other equipment that is much more affordable to implement.
Prototyping is a must to speed up the development process because it allows for a quick response to design improvements. Early prototyping also allows for in-depth testing to detect design flaws and correct them accordingly. As a strategy, we will use parallel development of machine component design, digital simulations, and applicability testing. Some design errors, defects, or redundant components cannot be foreseen before the physical product is created. Reference: “Project Life Cycle example”, https://phron.org/project-life-cycle-example/
The design of the product will be strict and concise. It will also feature a wide range of smart features, thanks to the ability to connect to a smartphone. Initially, the body will be gray and made of stainless steel, and its built-in suspension will dampen vibrations when the machine is running. There will be a color screen on the front panel, which will be a touch screen. The product will feature a graphical interface – in which the elements provided to the user for management will be implemented in the form of graphical images such as menus, buttons, lists, and more. In this way, the user will have access to all visible objects on the monitor by simply touching the screen and thus will be able to directly manipulate them. The product will have its operating system, as well as a Wi-Fi module for wireless connection, through which users can connect to it via a mobile application and control it remotely. For example, from his smartphone, the user can remotely select the washing mode, start the machine, adjust the amount of detergent, as well as receive a notification when the washing is finished. He will also be able to install additional applications to it from the App Store on his phone.
Technical work on the creation
The production process is divided into production (manufacture of parts), assembly (assembly of parts to obtain components), and assembly (assembly of components to obtain the final product). The production process includes several different procedures, each of which is specific to a particular type of raw material – sheet metal, plastic, or aluminum. Once the components are made, they are assembled; the main components or components include the transmission, the pump, the rotating and washing tubs, the balancing ring, and the painted parts. Finally, the assemblies are assembled in the machine body, which is then completed.
Product testing and possible processing
All parts purchased from external manufacturers are inspected on-site before use and most components are also inspected. For example, all transmissions are automatically tested for operation, noise, and vibration. All pumps are tested for air tightness – automatically if their assembly was automated, and manually if it was manual. All painted parts are visually inspected for defects. Samples are placed daily in detergent, bleach, and steam bath for corrosion testing. Once fully assembled, the machine is filled with water and tested for noise, vibration, and visual defects, as well as for malfunctioning controls and mechanisms. After packing, some units are subjected to severe tests to simulate transport conditions to test the carding process.
Distribution to real customers
For customers to receive good product support, companies must choose and effectively manage their distribution channels. Manufacturing companies may have their own direct customer support organization or use alternatives. Our company will distribute its products through a network of its own sales teams, distributors, retailers, e-commerce sites, and associates. In recent years, online commerce has become increasingly popular, especially now because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is a prerequisite to pay special attention and not to save money on a well-designed site, easy and convenient for our customers. Unique processes and equipment for working with our product will also be developed. This includes picking up and packing, as well as loading and unloading vehicles. In this way, a high degree of warehouse utilization and optimal truck loading will be achieved through unique stacking rules and optimization tools.
Defining our target audience and product expectations is important to determine where and how to spend our money on marketing.
The Internet is currently the most effective form of marketing media and this is unlikely to change any time soon. We will advertise the product on the Internet and through various other media, such as radio or television. We will also guarantee the customer a trial period so that if his expectations are not met during the trial wash, we can sell him a new product. One of the messages we need to look at about the product is the story. History has shown that people are more likely to buy a product when they are given a friendly guarantee that it is designed to last a long time. It is important to let customers know that our machine will serve them for a long time. This is a very important message that we need to convey, especially when the industry is changing so fast. Other things to think about are the words we use when advertising our product. The right words are very important, especially when we want people to buy our product. The right words can be very effective in influencing the decisions people make, especially when it comes to buying a product. In our case, we present a new product on the market and therefore we must describe in detail its many and unique characteristics. Customers are also more likely to buy a product when they are shown its images.
The marketing strategy also includes the creation of a logo that will be distinctive among other brands on the market.
Once we emphasize the uniqueness of the product, we follow the definition of the strategy for pricing and brand positioning, which will help to implement everything that follows. With these two main parts, marketers can begin to outline the distribution methods they will use, how to manage customer transactions, sales strategies, and advertising and promotional strategies. Through this process, the promotional plans of our business will become far more focused and cost-effective, and success will be much easier to determine.