Automotive Embedded Project Management and Product Development

PMI NC Piedmont Triad Chapter, and Kim H. Pries

It is not unusual for the processes, tools and techniques to be similar within a specific industry. The automotive industry is no different. Automotive development, heavy vehicle and car have a standard set of development tools, techniques and processes designed to provide a minimal due-diligent approach to delivering a quality-secured embedded product. Of course there can be many motifs within a single industry.

Also like many industries, there are advocate groups that promote this expected approach. One such group is the Automotive Industry Action Group, or AIAG (comprised of Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation: 1995). This approach provides the structure for our project management activities.

An overview of the processes from concept through production phase can be found in the Advanced Product Quality Planning and Control Plan (APQP) Reference Manual published by AIAG. These can be considered analogous to project phases or gates, and in fact the project plan will follow these steps and there will be gate reviews at each of these steps. In general, the phases are:

  • Conceptualization
  • Product design and development
  • Process design and development
  • Product and process validation
  • Launch

The APQP approach is usually implemented as a high-level waterfall model. However, there are no restrictions that would prohibit spiral or …

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