Home > Examples, Research > Dividing risks = multiplying opportunities

Dividing risks = multiplying opportunities

Baldwin & Woodard (http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-034.pdf) argue that the fundamental architecture behind all platforms is the partitioning into a set of “core” components with low variety and a complementary set of “peripheral” components with high variety. This achieves economies of scale while reducing the cost of creating a wide variety of complementary components.

Quflow has experience from products that are developed as monolithic designs as well as products that are designed as more generic platforms. The differences are very big. Monolithic designs may appear mature in the beginning but has a jittery quality progress and are difficult to finish, while the partitioned designs always reach and exceed expectations at a fast and steady pace.
Example: The monolithic part to the left in the illustration below did not reach desired quality and project cost targets due to a very jittery quality progress. To the right is the same subsystem in a later product where the risks were considered higher and design responsibilities were more divided.

Monolithic compared to partitioned system

As could have been expected, the quality in the latter product grew very quickly due to proper hardware partitioning and exceeded all expectations at a fraction of the project cost compared to the monolithic design. In fact it was so agile that one of the sub-teams actually took the opportunity to configure in a chipset from the next product generation, contributing to the success of later products as well!

Product quality growth

Usually the argument for not partitioning a product by its design risks is that the partitioning itself introduces risk, cost and size, but nowadays when interfacing components can be very small, cheap and generic, it seldom matters even if partitioning is kept also in the final product. Such products are also very easy to use as platform for further developments and new opportunities. All really successful products create their own unique ecosphere for further developments, and Quflow does systems engineering that makes it very easy to achieve.

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Categories: Examples, Research
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  1. December 1, 2010 at 13:47

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