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What Is Product-Based Planning?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Product-based planning is an approach to project management where personnel consider the end goal of a project and work backward to plan out production. This is part of the "PRojects In Controlled Environments 2" (PRINCE2) framework endorsed by the government of the United Kingdom for official projects. People typically implement product-based planning as part of a PRINCE2 project management scheme although it can also be used on its own. Software tools are available to assist with this process, as are consultants who can help companies change their approach to project management.

Before work starts on a project, the staff think about what the end goal is, such as a fully assembled car or a finished software suite. They break the product down into components and sub-components, such as doors on a car, and the hardware that goes into the construction of each door. This product-based planning information can be used to build a map of all the product components that will be required to finish the job, including intangible components like worker hours or quality control checks.

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With a product map, personnel can determine the order in which the work should proceed. They use product-based planning to find out which components need to be ready at which times. This allows for the creation of a schedule for production which can keep all the staff and facilities on track. In cases where the same components go into multiple products, the company may have forking project schedules to accommodate the needs of different projects. For example, the same wiring harness may be used in several vehicles made by the same manufacturer.

The organized diagram of all the components of a project is known as the product flow diagram. It becomes a key component of project planning and has the advantage of easy readability. This allows personnel to seamlessly trade off tasks and responsibilities, and to monitor project progress, through consultation with the diagram. It can also be used for planning future projects of a similar nature. As employees learn from earlier projects, they can apply lessons to new product flow diagrams and refine their scheduling to limit downtime and increase efficiency.

Companies with an interest in product-based planning can access a number of guides with specific tips and tricks. Consultants can review procedures at a company and provide advice and assistance on how to streamline the manufacturing process. Software programs to facilitate PRINCE2 frameworks are also available through a number of companies, some of which focus on the needs of specific industries to generate software customized to particular applications.

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