Systems Thinking – The Workflow Subsystem of the PDOS

Recent posts have talked about Systems thinking and introduced the concept of The Product Development Operating System framework.

I’d like to present one subsystem of The Product Development Operating System, that being the Workflow subsystem. In a previous video in this series we talked about how companies evolve into The Product Development Operating System. I’d like to use the workflow subsystem to demonstrate that.

When a company is founded an entrepreneur will have an idea that fills a market need. He or she will hire some engineers to work on this idea. The engineers will develop the design and work directly with the entrepreneur to bring the product to market. This exercise of product development is raw innovation — just bringing a new idea to market through the innovation that is usually done within the product development process.

If the organization is successful and survives, it will grow. As it grows in size and complexity there becomes a need to organize the members of product development into functional groups. Simultaneously there arises a need to provide coherent management and leadership for the engineers. This is the second element of the workflow subsystem – Leadership. As it evolves, you now have a Workflow subsystem for Innovation and a subsystem for Leadership.

As an organization is more successful it will have more opportunity for market penetration, but it will have limited resources. So, it needs to make careful investment decisions about which projects it will develop and which opportunities it will forego. These Investment Decisions are the third step in the evolution in the workflow of product development.

When all three Workflow subsystems have been created, you will have a part of the organization making Investment Decisions, which then triggers work to be done by the Leadership of product development to organize efforts that will generate Innovation within a project that will deliver a product to the market.

Investment Decisions, Leadership, and Innovation. Those are the three parts of the Workflow of The Product Development Operating System.


Contact us to learn more about how Systems Thinking and the application of our Product Development Operating System can help your organization become more efficient, productive, innovative, and competitive.

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