Standard Service Level (SSL)
Product developments may not be fully defined at onset. In fact, they usually aren’t, but it isn’t uncommon for developers and clients alike to think everything’s prescriptive when it’s subjective. The LED must be bright: How bright? The buzzer must be loud: How loud? Our clients are price sensitive: How sensitive? Multiple disciplines are involved (software, hardware, product design): Who is managing the project and how? How is a silo mentality to be avoided by the disciplines involved? The SSL ensures that these factors and more are engaged with and responded to throughout the entire project. The SSL engages with the needs of the client and the application and ensures the development meets the needs of both. It may be thought that a development that meets the needs of the root client and market model defines success, but logistics, supply, manufacturability, and other matters may suggest the Enhanced Service Level might be a better fit.
The SSL adds to the Core Service by including a technical/market validated specification. Validation and monitoring is continuous during the development – doesn’t cease until completion. Confirmation of the specification with need is constantly confirmed with the team and clients during development. The EM in conjunction with all other stakeholders affirm the suitability of the specification to meet the field application.
Note: it is an abnormal project that has no specification changes during its duration: expect them to happen and that there will be associated consequences.
The specification must be reviewed at every progress meeting: it becomes unconnected and obsolete if this discipline isn’t followed.
In addition, the SSL brings project planning and management into the mix. Most projects bring in several disciplines, and even though the EM can offer all of these, a client may have chosen to resource only some of them with the EM. Typically, a project will require at least:
- Electronics development
- Firmware/software development
- Product design/mechanical engineering
It is not uncommon for a client to assume that these disciplines will coordinate automatically: not so. What will happen is that each will look after its own interests – problems will slip between them and the client take responsibility for determining why the ball has been dropped and who’s responsible.
Silo mentality will result if the responsibility for project management isn’t clearly defined.
SSL will deliver and manage agile project planning through periodic progress meeting of all stakeholders. The results of the same will be transparent to the client.
The cost will be based on a monthly charge (starting on date of order and ceasing when the project is complete, or the client chooses to cancel it). The level will be quoted at the inception of the project after basic discovery has been completed. If the work needed exceeds allocation in a given month, the client has the choice of supplementing payment to expedite delivery or delaying delivery and allocating the work to following months.