Linking system and function structure to prioritize requirements

Product development is fundamentally realizing a market need into a product that can be used/consumed. The best know model for product development – BAH Model, describes product development steps as:

  • new product strategy
  • idea generation
  • screening and evaluation
  • business analysis
  • development
  • testing
  • commercialization

There are many other models, but one can easily link these model to BAH because the BAH is foundation for all. In this post, I would like to emphasis why the system design is a crucial process in product development. During 1st to 4th phase of BAH model, ideas are scrutinized and forwarded to development phase. Before the development phase, product requirements are available/developed.

Product requirements defines the vision of the product, it’s derived/developed from

  • Government guidelines, standards and regulations
  • Voice of customer
  • Research
  • Product use case
  • Competitor analysis
  • and more….
Ex. Rear view camera: how product requirements derived/developed

From product requirements, components and sub systems are identified/defined which will work together as a system. Identified components and sub systems organized to form a system structure, which depicts the interrelations and interactions. More the level of hierarchy the system becomes detailed and ambiguity becomes less.  

System structure representing hierarchy and connections

One should also derive the functions of the product from product requirements. Functions should represents how the product requirements fulfilled. There should be clear definition of inputs, outputs, environments and control parameters for each function.  

Typical function definition

Like system structure, function structure should be generated which depicts the systems functions and their interactions.

Mapping and linking system and function structure one to one makes the systems understanding clear and any change to the product requirements becomes easy to update and track with this approach.

Zigzag linking of system and function structure

Function structure must be assessed to identify risk/complexity in realizing the product requirements. Each function can be categorized into below (derived from Stacy matrix) or anyway one prefers:

  • Simple – previously implemented, knowledge available and requirements can be implemented without uncertainty
  • Complicated – low level of uncertainty, but can be implemented with bit more effort
  • Complex – medium level of uncertainty, and need more effort to implement
  • Chaotic – high level of uncertainty, not sure of implementing the these product requirements

It is nobrainer that priority should be given to the product requirements marked chaotic, because without addressing this product cannot be realized entirely.

Categories: Management

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