Probing LEAN Space with Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker – Director, LSS Initiatives
Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Most companies have the same basic question they are trying to answer from a model project.  How can I make more stuff quicker?  Whether it is manufacturing, government, healthcare, or most any other industry, they all want to get more items through their processes faster and often they want to do it with fewer resources.  That’s the climate we are in now.  Everyone has to do more with less.

I have observed that many problems in Manufacturing can be directly attributed to having too much WIP.  Excess WIP inventory ties up money, creates the need for storage, increases cycle time, reduces throughput, and wastes Resources time.  But Managers want to keep everyone busy so they allow more work to be introduced into their systems instead of looking for Lean ways to better manage the “pull” of work.  Companies that learn to control the amount of WIP to meet their orders always do better financially then other companies that continually flood the workplace with inventory.

So I get excited when a model shows some new information that a company has never seen or understood before.  When they can see the process waste, understand how to remove it and implement the plan – that’s a great thing.

Check out Dave’s work on the Space Shuttle Program with United Space Alliance and NASA…. 

ABOUT DAVE

Dave Tucker is ProModel’s Director of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Initiatives and also serves as a Senior Management Consultant and Project Manager.  He assists our clients primarily by providing simulation training, model consulting services, and LSS implementation advice.  Prior to joining ProModel, Dave was the Lead Lean Six Sigma (L6S) Master Black Belt at United Space Alliance (USA), located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  USA is the prime contractor to NASA responsible for the Space Shuttle Program.

Dave has over 25 years’ experience leading teams, mentoring employees, solving problems, conducting training, and improving operations. He has led more than forty Kaizen Events, completed dozens of process simulation modeling projects, conducted hundreds of training sessions, facilitated over two hundred Belts & Team Leaders, and assisted with the implementation of numerous process improvements saving millions of dollars.

Dave has an extensive background in numerous process improvement tools utilized in Lean Six Sigma DMAIC & DMEDI approaches, as well as Kaizen team methods and process simulation modeling.  He has about 14 years’ experience using ProModel process simulation modeling tools for process improvement.  In addition, he is a sought after speaker and has made many well-received presentations at Process Improvement, Simulation, Industrial Engineering, and Aerospace Conferences.  He has a BSBA in Management from the University of Central Florida.  Dave is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Certified Master Black Belt.

Ready to Turn Pro?

Get ready for quicker, easier model building with PCS Pro – a brand new level of Process Simulator combining its original ease of use with an enhanced feature set enabling faster model building, more complex processes and improved model maintainability.

Contact your ProModel Rep at 888.900.3090 or email us at pcspro@promodel.com for more information.

 

 

Team ProModel Ragnar Relay: The Experience

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Pat Sullivan – VP, Army Programs

“12 friends, 2 vans, 2 days, 1 night, 200 mile relay…unforgettable stories.”  Ragnar

ProModel continues to demonstrate a commitment to building teams.  Over the past several days (25-27 Oct), Team ProModel grew as friends and athletes in one of America’s most grueling endurance races. The Chattanooga to Nashville Ragnar Relay undoubtedly demanded an often extraordinary level of dedication and sacrifice.  That dedication was played out during the race, but initiated and nurtured during the miles of running our team did in the months leading to the race…well, I must stop here to introduce the entire team, as some members considered their training was                                         an unnecessary crutch.

Team ProModel preparing to leave Huntsville

Team ProModel preparing to leave Huntsville

Ragnar-lockup-blue-backgroundThe twelve person team consisted of team captain Tim Shelton, (ProModel Sr Army Program Manager), Pat Sullivan (ProModel VP for Army Programs),  Brian Brown, Susan Whitehead, Jennifer Harbaugh, Ryan Harbaugh, Robert Brown, Sheri Shamwell, Barry Crocker, Cori Wilkerson, Wes Wilkerson, and Eric DeBolt (the ringer).  And the team could not have run one step had it not been for the commitment of Keith Vadas and Carl Napoletano…and the incredible effort of Christine Bunker (ProModel marketing) and our awesome drivers and support crew (Jim Craft and Kelly Parker).

So, back to the memories… our race day started when we met at our link up point in Huntsville and received our great running gear before loading up our well apportioned vans…the ones we called home for the next several days.  Thanks to our sponsors we had everything one would need…except maybe for a personal masseuse and about three more weeks of training.

Eric “The Lightning” Debolt takes off from the first major exchange point

Eric “The Lightning” Debolt takes off from the first major exchange point

Once on the starting line, in great ProModel fashion, our #1 runner (Robert Brown- a late arrival to the team) voiced the first of what would be many quotable moments. After the race director, announced that “this start represented the culmination of all the months of hard work and training in preparation for Ragnar,” Robert, turned to the team and said “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training!”

And then the gun went off…at a beautiful waterfront setting on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, the team was off on our journey.  The plan was set and optimized.  Each runner was scheduled for three legs during the estimated 34 hours to complete the race.  We planned for each of our 12 runners to complete 16-19 miles each. And we delivered…the team completed the Ragnar in under 31 hours!

Jennifer Harbaugh pushes through her last leg through the beautiful horse farms just out side Nashville

Jennifer Harbaugh pushes through her last leg through the beautiful horse farms just out side Nashville

As the sun dropped, the miles faded and the temperature plunged.  Now, some of you may think that running in 25 degrees in the middle of the night is not that cold.  But for a bunch from the south, it was painful.  Couple that with little to no sleep over two days…and the mettle testing of endurance racing was on!

Rob Brown runs in the early morning light as the sun rises and the frost covers the ground. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees overnight

Maybe 25*?

After a cold night, with most pushing through on less than 2 hours sleep, each leg became more punishing… and as the sun rose, Team ProModel made it through the mountains, and into the rolling hills of Tennessee.  With the frost on the ground, the beautiful country side made for a memorable sight as the team passed the 100 mile mark.

Here are a few quotes and observations from the team:

Tim Shelton & Ryan Harbaugh exchange early morning

Tim Shelton & Ryan Harbaugh exchange early morning

“We are two legs up…”  Tim Shelton called in after conferring with the Race Director on our current progress.

“I’m JUST a stay at home Mom…”  An attractive young lady shared with Wes just before their leg.  Once the hand off occurred, she dropped him like a bad habit on her way to averaging 7:15 minute miles.

Eric “the lighting” DeBolt…delivered as promised by turning continual 6:00 minute miles…and then got up early on Sunday to run an “easy” 15 miles at 7:00 minute mile pace.

Jim Craft van driver/team manager/time keeper/ sleepless companion…was often heard mumbling through the night, “this is like herding cats.” 

Pat Sullivan runs through downtown Nashville towards finish line

Pat Sullivan runs through downtown Nashville towards finish line

Pat Sullivan often lost focus…”squirrel!”  What was I saying?

“Just one mile of suck left…”  a common quote Wes shared at each “one-mile to go” marker. 

“Where’s the van…Where’s that “one-mile-to-go-marker.”  Almost everyone racing… J

“Time to get up” says Jim to Barry…”but I never went to sleep.” Replies Barry.

“You are not my favorite person…” Rob says to one of his teammates while seven people tried to get some sleep in a van.

I wrote this somewhat generically…it’s hard to fit in all the stories and express the depth of our appreciation for having the opportunity to represent ProModel.  Thanks again for the great support and allowing us to represent ProModel…know you would have been proud.

Cori Wilkerson runs through the Tennessee hill country

Cori Wilkerson runs through the Tennessee hill country

Brian Brown running towards his first exchange point

Robert Brown “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training?!”

Susan Whitehead pushes up hill as Team ProModel makes its way through the Tennessee mountains!

Susan Whitehead pushes up hill as Team ProModel makes its way through the Tennessee mountains!

More with Less and the Value of “Simulation”

Weeds Pic

Robert Wedertz – NST Program Manager, SME

A close friend of mine recently sent to me our Chief of Naval Operations’ “Navigation Plan – 2014-2018”.  It is a vehicle for our Navy to provide “a vision, tenets, and principles to guide our Navy as we chart a course to remain ready to meet current challenges, build a relevant and capable future force, and enable and support our Sailors, Civilians, and their families”.

Not surprisingly, the key constraints in implementing the navigation plan are challenges associated with a Continuing Resolution and the onset of Sequestration.  Warfighting, forward presence, and readiness cost money.  Our military is the better part of 11 years “boots on the deck” in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are redirecting our focus to the Asia-Pacific region, and other parts of the Middle East (Egypt and Syria) are embroiled in pseudo civil wars which may or may not bring about our involvement.  Confronting our nation’s challenges on a shoestring budget, coupled with future uncertainty with respect to out-year budget allocations, has confronted our Department of Defense leadership with a conundrum likely unprecedented.

In order to confront the realities of that uncertainty, the DoD has more and more turned to simulation, but not the traditional kind – like battlefield mock-ups, operational flight trainers, etc.  I am referring to what I call “Course of Action” simulation.  Leveraging software-enabled predictive analytics, advanced modeling algorithms, and customizable simulation programming, the DoD is taking advantage of “sandbox” decision support tools which provide users the ability to run multiple COAs in a zero-risk environment.  For example:

“What if the Operations and Maintenance budget is cut by 5%, 6%, 10%?  How does that affect our warfighting ability?  How does it affect readiness?”

In the simulated environment, users have the ability to “turn the dials” and measure and present the outcomes to those that have the ultimate obligation to make decisions.  In an environment where the only certainty is uncertainty, decision makers are afforded opportunities to investigate distinct outcomes based upon methodical manipulation of inputs, constraints, and scenarios.

This is precisely the type of environment ProModel has created with the Naval Synchronization Toolset.  Our software development team has designed and implemented a customized web-enabled tool which allows its users to build, test, and present courses of action which source Navy Squadrons to Air Wings, and Air Wings to Aircraft Carriers.  The result is a Master Aviation Plan (MAP) which bridges 30 years of sourcing decisions and is “THE” plan for Naval Aviation to support the CNO’s Navigation Plan.  Additionally, we have provided an integrated decision support tool to the FA-18 Class Desk for effectively managing the aircraft inventory well into the future.

The Aircraft Inventory Management (AIM) tool provides the users with the forward-leaning ability to move individual aircraft between squadrons in order to extend the life of legacy FA-18 aircraft (A-D) and proactively manage the current and future compliment of FA-18 E/F aircraft 30 years into the future.

NST is a “sandbox” which allows users to continually refine COA’s in order to support the strategic needs of the Navy while considering constraints imposed by budget uncertainty, unplanned contingency operation demands, and the “rudder” of our Navy’s key stakeholders.  Through harnessing the power of simulation we have provided a decision support tool that is proactive, not reactive, is risk-free, and ultimately provides decision makers a tool to
“navigate by”.

Myself and Mitch Todd (Sr. Software Architect for NST) touring aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Norfolk VA.

Myself and Mitch Todd (Sr. Software Architect for NST) touring aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Norfolk VA.

ProModel’s DST Summer Tour

This summer ProModel has been out on the road offering up training to Army soldiers and civilians looking to manage the distribution and redistribution of Army equipment with ProModel’s custom made Lead Materiel Integrator- Decision Support Tool (DST).   Subject matter experts from the Army Sustainment Command (ASC), the Logistic Support Activity (LOGSA) and ProModel, have been conducting materiel management training and exercise (MMTE) events around the country.  Army users are leveraging the power of DST to predict Army requirements over time and help make more cost effective decisions on distribution of equipment.

The team kicked off the MMTE at Fort Bragg, North Carolina training 150 users from United States Army Forces Command, United States Army Special Operations Command and the United States Army Reserve Command.  Other training sites so far include JBLM Washington, Fort Campbell Kentucky, and Fort Belvoir Virginia.

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Training at JBLM Washington

JBLM2

Training at JBLM Washington

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Training at Ft. Campbell Kentucky

ProModel 25th Anniversary Message from Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

ProModel opened its doors in Orem Utah in 1988 thanks to Dr. Charles Harrell’s vision to provide an easy to use and affordable simulation toolset for non-programmers that could run on standard PC’s.  Fast forward 25 years and it’s remarkable to see how ProModel has grown from a small company based on a single innovative simulation software product to an organization with a global presence and diverse solutions servicing virtually every industry from Government and Manufacturing to Healthcare and Academia.

It’s truly a success story.  And it’s no secret that our success is all due to the talented professionals, both within our loyal customer base and the ProModel family, who are dedicated to the concept of improvement.  So                                               I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for 25 great years!

Here at ProModel, we’re already looking into a future filled with great promise and opportunity for growth, and we continue to strive in developing innovative and collaborative solutions to help our customers make better decisions faster and create their own success story.

Visit our special 25th Anniversary Page and view a Timeline of ProModel History:

http://www.promodel.com/25/

25 Years and Climbing

Charles Harrell, Founder ProModel Corporation

Charles Harrell, Founder ProModel Corporation

A few Saturdays ago my wife and I went on a half-day hike up Millcreek Canyon east of Salt Lake City with our daughter, her husband, and their four children, ages three, seven (twins) and nine. It was the first time we had been on this hike and didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were prepared with food, drinks, sunscreen, good hiking shoes, and basic first-aid items. We were excited for the challenge and adventure, but harsh reality soon set in as the hike was long and hot, and some parts of the trail were quite steep and rocky. The first leg was up Rattlesnake Gulch (named for the frequent sightings of this reptile), and was the roughest part of the hike. There were a few cuts and scratches incurred along the way, but nothing that a band-aid and a little sympathy couldn’t take care of.

1The kids proved to be real troupers (though not without frequent coaxing and piggyback riding) and were always anxious to see what was around the next bend. Sometimes it was a mountain stream or occasional deer or interesting rock formation. Sometimes we made a wrong turn and we had to backtrack to get back on course. Eventually, we made it to the anticipated overlook point where we had a panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley. With a big sigh of relief, we plopped down on a rock, broke out the now flattened sandwiches and warm drinks, and took in the view. The view of the valley and surrounding mountains was spectacular and we all had a sense of accomplishment as we talked and laughed about the adventurous hike getting there.

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In many ways, I feel a similar sense of marvel and accomplishment as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of ProModel. When I approached two of my graduate students in August 1988 with a set of 5¼ inch floppy disks containing the DOS version of ProModel (written in Turbo Pascal) and accompanying user’s guide (written in WordStar), we set out to revolutionize the use of simulation in the business world by introducing the first graphically oriented simulation tool for desktop computers.

Little did we imagine how difficult the journey would be as we tried to break into the simulation marketplace. One veteran in the industry (who later ended up as a ProModel employee) advised against entering the simulation market as it was already saturated. Undeterred by our inexperience (or lack of good sense), we set up business in the basement of a small dental building that had only two rooms, one of which housed an air compressor that pulsated loudly whenever the dentist drilled. The explanation to customers on the phone was usually, “Sorry! But there’s construction going on next door. Can you talk a little louder?” With determined perseverance, we gradually developed a loyal customer base and built a professional sales and support team that had a good grasp of customer needs. We were all convinced that we offered a unique product—a simulation tool that was developed and supported by engineers and specifically designed for engineers. Keith Vadas, our current CEO, was one of those early recruits, and he continues to keep the various ProModel product teams grounded in the tradition of ensuring our products and services meet real customer needs.

Each new product or product feature introduced over the years was developed in collaboration with our customers to ensure it met their specific needs and helped them be more effective in their work. Along our journey we made the discovery that ProModel was well-suited for healthcare applications since a hospital turned out to be essentially just a large job shop. The hospital administrator we sold the first license to requested only that we change the name “part” to the current name “entity.” (They also winced at the term “scrap” when applied to patients who didn’t make it through the system.) So ProModel became the first to offer a healthcare simulator. There were other “firsts” to follow including the first (true) Windows-based simulation product, the first simulation product to include optimization, the first enterprise portfolio simulation tool, the first global synchronization tool for military personnel and assets, and the first to host its products in the cloud. We are honored by the numerous recognitions we have received over the years including Microsoft’s distinguished partnership awards and the recent high accolades from the DoD.

In addition to the impressive growth in ProModel’s predictive simulation technology, it has also been gratifying to see the breadth of application of our technology, not just in fortune 500 companies, but also in the area of healthcare, education, homeland security, military readiness and humanitarian aid. As we have expanded into each of these areas, we have added individuals with expertise in each of them to better service our customers and understand their unique requirements. (For now, Kurt Shampine is filling in as our hog and chicken expert.) We have also engaged international distributers led by Rob Bateman, creating ProModel users in most major countries of the world.

This, in broad strokes, is a brief sketch of ProModel’s 25-year history. It highlights what I believe has made ProModel such a distinguished provider of predictive analytic, simulation solutions. And now, after pausing to reflect on the accomplishments of so many individuals over the past quarter century, I can only say, I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend—the one just up ahead.

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Fast Food Drive-Thru, 2 lanes faster than 1?

Dan Hickman

Dan Hickman – ProModel Chief Technology Officer

Have you noticed that many of the new fast food restaurants have 2 drive-thru lanes.  My first experience with one I thought “wow, really?”.  I found myself frozen with confusion.   My wife saved me by pointing to the left lane.  Similar to choosing a restaurant or a movie, I now can blame her if the car behind me gets the food first.

My car reached the ordering sign.  I am terrible at ordering fast food.  Even though I drive 99% of the time, my wife will lean over me and shout the order through my window.  There are just too many details my over-indulged kids care about that the make the process too complicated.  Have you ever communicated the perfect order only to be replied with “sir, can you repeat that?”.  AHHH.

To my surprise, I noticed all cars converge on a single “pay” window.  2 lanes should be faster than one, right?  I thought it would be interesting to model the typical fast food drive-thru process comparing 1 versus 2 lanes.

Results

The poll results and comments are very interesting. Most people feel 2 lanes versus 1 makes no difference but not all agree. This validates why I wanted to build a simple model and see what I could learn. I created this model to have fun and encourage readers to not take the results too seriously. I do think the model is a great start to an iterative approach of building a much more complex drive thru model though. You learn a lot in building a process model and I have come to appreciate the subtle details necessary to fully model a drive thru.

Here is a video of me running the model and comparing 2 lane versus 1 lane on average time to get your food.

Inputs and Assumptions

My goal was to see how quickly I could capture the general flow of a drive thru and only add details as needed. The model is data driven and a user can easily change the following:

Parameter Default
Number Of Lanes 2
Order Time In Seconds U(30,15)
Percent Pay By Cash 50%
Pay By Credit Card Seconds U(15,5)
Pay By Cash Seconds U(30,5)
Pull Ahead Threshold Seconds 45
Pick Up Food In Seconds U(15,5)
Vehicle Arrival Frequency Minutes E(1)
Vehicle Arrival Quantity 1

Certainly this list is not exhaustive, but I feel representative of the types of things that determine a drive-thru’s process performance. Just to get reasonable defaults I recorded my wait times through various fast food drive-thrus. I also recorded other driver’s times while I was there. Anyone know if drive thru times are publicly available?

I used a Google Map image of a real drive-thru and the distances are to scale to accurately model the impact of vehicle length. The vehicles move 1 mph as they move though the drive-thru queue.

When picking up the food, if the model determines it will take greater than 45 seconds, the car is told to pull ahead and not block the vehicles behind them.

Potential Next Iteration

Even with black boxing the “Get Food” window with a simple, single time distribution, 2 lanes ended up being faster. Had this not been true, I was planning on modeling what specific items a driver orders. I would actually model the kitchen area and the cooking of that restaurant’s menu of items. Drivers would have to wait for their specific ordered items to actually be cooked and ready.

Check Out Dan’s Blog – “Dan’s Green Shoes”:

http://dansgreenshoes.com/

Software User Feedback: Seeing outside of the technical writer’s cube

jsw_fish_2013

Jay Wisnosky – Technical Writer

Rock Island Arsenal is on the Mississippi River between the cities of Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA.  It was first established as a government site in 1816, served as a Civil War prison camp to over 12,000 Confederate prisoners, and now provides manufacturing, logistics and base support for the Armed Forces.

From 15 January through 18 January 2013, Rock Island Arsenal was the training location for ProModel’s Decision Support Tool – Sourcing Module (DST-SM), with the focus trainees being a group from the United States Army Materiel Command (AMC). AMC is the primary provider of materiel to the United States Army. DST-SM is a web-based software application developed by ProModel and designed to assist AMC and other logisticians in the Army to plan the best possible decisions for materiel distribution across the world. As the technical documentation specialist for DST-SM, it is a collaboration with which I am very proud to be associated, so I welcomed the opportunity to attend these training sessions.

It’s not every day that I get the opportunity to interact with the customers of one of our products. If you are a technical writer, you know that much of the interaction and feedback from customers comes filtered through your company’s support team, consultants or other subject matter experts. It sometimes takes a journalist’s tenacity, a quality assurance analyst’s patience, and a politician’s handshake to get information about the technical details of your product. The end result is typically a user manual, which if done well, is quietly referenced and met with very little acclaim.

So on the first day of training at Rock Island Arsenal, I sat as a quiet observer in the back of the training room with notepad in hand, ready for class to begin. By 8:30 a.m., a blend of enlisted soldier and civilian trainees had taken their places behind secure computer monitors. The DST-SM trainer introduced the guests, a mixture of contractors and ProModel employees, to the classroom.

When he introduced me, I felt a rush of fear and pride swell in my chest. He stated my name and title and then added a note, informing the class that I was the author of the previous bound copy of the user manual that was distributed to many of them with the summer release of DST-SM. He added that with this new release the user manual was now online as a new feature and view-able at any given moment from the Help option in the main menu. I felt their staring eyes turn in my direction for a moment, before the trainer continued to his first segment of the session.

Whatever fear of scrutiny I had slowly disappeared as I watched several students reference the online help throughout the course of the training session.  In addition, the trainees regularly turned to me to ask questions about a certain function or screen. Their questions ranged from process-related questions to inquiries about the tool’s usability and performance. Though I couldn’t explain to them how to perform their job, I felt confident helping the trainees navigate the application.  I saw new users of the tool gain confidence and experienced users pick up on the new features with relative ease.

Perhaps one the most beneficial aspects to being a technical writer in the presence of users during a training session was hearing their suggestions, concerns and obstacles. I took this unique chance to interact with the AMC trainees as a golden opportunity to absorb as much as I possibly could about the usability of DST-SM, as well as the effectiveness of my help documentation. Often, a major oversight in developing, testing, and documenting any application is how close we grow to our own process and application. However, through the fresh eyes of a new user, using the tool in a manner familiar to their specific job, you get to see where gaps in the documentation exist and where room for usability can improve. So as we were helping them do their jobs, they were helping us do ours. As the morning progressed, I saw the many hours of hard work by DST-SM developers, product managers, program directors, and testers, finally coming to fruition.

I considered the experience both gratifying and inspiring. The AMC trainees used the help in accordance with the trainer’s instructions and in conjunction with the practical exercises at the end of each session.

The inspiring part is about moving forward with an added perspective and incentive. There’s no doubt having that kind of experience will lend to a stronger, more useful product on the page and in the application. Observing how investments in money, time, and effort are manifest in real world scenarios outside the walls of my cubicle is something that every technical writer imagines, but rarely gets a chance to witness.

Strengthening the Innovation Value Chain

Orange Cathy

Cathy Liggett – Sales Director, PPM Solutions

Our Customers can connect strategic planning with market and business opportunity definitions. 

When Innovation Teams fail to deliver on their promises, the most frequent explanation is that the strategy was wrong. But the strategy by itself is not often the cause. Strategies most often fail because they aren’t executed well. Either the team isn’t capable of making them happen, or the leaders of the organization misjudge the challenges their teams face in the market place, or both.

The right portfolio and capacity planning tool will allow strategic planners to examine multiple scenarios and predict the probability of success within a set of given budgets, constraints and thresholds. Typically, strategic planners throw these guidelines over the fence to those responsible for identifying and defining market and business opportunities within their portfolio. If the strategic planning team shares the executable model developed while creating the strategy with the portfolio management team, the strategic vision can become “our” vision instead of “their” vision.

The benefits of empowerment are realized as Portfolio Managers redistribute and balance the opportunity portfolio. Opportunities can be selected based on the budgets, thresholds, and constraints of the strategic model. Ways for opportunities to compensate for one another can be identified while maintaining strategic alignment. The unified team (Strategic Planners and Portfolio Managers)―with its synergy of effort―offers greater knowledge than if the Portfolio Managers of opportunity definition and the Capacity Planners of strategic planning work separately. The shared, executable model is key to a common vision, and required to truly join capacity planning and portfolio management.

ProModel customers build executable models driven by a discrete event simulator to determine potentials, define competency requirements, and establish portfolio budgets. They use this same model for portfolio management to balance opportunities, and minimize risk. This connection helps establish a common language between strategy and opportunity planning.

Our Customers can align product roadmaps to these market opportunities.

Power is the rate at which work is accomplished. Roadmaps control that rate. We like to think of it as the throttle of execution. This is where the day-to-day activities of the project meet strategy. Yes, it’s true that the roadmap should be seen as a portfolio. The Roadmapping Team must balance opportunity with capability while maintaining strategic alignment.

A shared, executable model helps our customers bridge the gap between the potential and realized returns of the enterprise roadmap, while optimizing the execution rates of the individual projects on that roadmap. Of course risk and reward are balanced, but perhaps the greatest advantage the executable model brings to roadmapping is change impact analysis. For this task, automated reports just can’t address the bursty nature of enterprise change. The averages and estimates of traditional Gantt charts, and strategic plans don’t address the issues of resource availability or future capability needed for roadmapping.

Our Customer’s day-to-day decisions required in Market Sensing, Problem, Feature, Requirement, and Launch definition receive direction and focus from these roadmaps.

A common executable model, used for strategic planning, capacity planning, portfolio management, and roadmapping helps build a common language, focus, and almost frictionless execution. The model helps everyone on the Innovation Team understand where the constraints came from. The final result is empowerment to the front lines, where decisions are being made. The model, which is connected to the roadmap, opportunities, and strategy can now be used for “What if” analysis.

The day-to-day decisions of members on the Innovation Team can be strengthened by the executable model. This executable model is used to gain insight into trends and forces that impact our decisions. By studying the behavior of the model, good decisions can be made without formal analysis. The goal is to empower their Innovation Team with reliable instincts, formulated with facts and modeled experiences, so that when the time comes, good decisions can be made in a timely manner.

Members of the Innovation Team gathering market evidence, analyzing the evidence to define problem statements, constructing innovative feature definitions, specifying market requirements, or planning the launch, use the executable model to conduct what if analyses, and change impact analysis to be sure the maximum competitive advantage is delivered within the current business constraints.

This three-tier coordination between Strategy, Opportunities, Roadmaps, day-to-day  market sensing, problem, feature, requirement, and launch definition can be accomplished through the right type of capacity planning and portfolio management capabilities.