|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this Master Thesis was to improve Tandberg’s design process by increasing the focus on design and utilizing the designers knowledge base to a greater extent.
An analysis of Tandberg’s current situation, was done by conducting an preliminary interview round, as well as a SWOT-, Competitor-, Porter’s Five Forces- and Portfolio-analysis. It became clear that to truly improve the design process and to better utilize the designers knowledgebase, it would be necessary to get a better grasp of the whole product development within Tandberg, including how the different professions and divisions work together.
To uncover how well Tandberg is utilizing their resources a larger literature study covering benchmarking, product development and design processes, innovation, organizing, communication and learning was used to create a benchmarking survey. This survey was sent out to a large number of employees covering the major professional groups that influence the product development process. The survey uncovered that neither how the designers work, nor Tandberg’s product development process was well known. In addition to this, there are few design tools in use, there is a lack of customer involvement, and finally the communication in many parts of Tandberg, especially within the design profession is poor.
All these aspects are crucial in improving the product development and design processes at Tandberg. However, to ensure a more thorough end result, it was necessary to narrow the scope substantially. Through discussions with my supervisors at Tandberg and NTNU, Torkel Mellingen and Casper Boks, it was decided that improving the communication in relation to the designers was most pressing. The main reasoning behind this decision was that the lack of communication means that lessons learned are not used to create better products, there are large amounts of double work being done, and the whole product portfolio is not as consistent as it should be.
In light of the survey, a second survey and a workshop was created to look more thoroughly into the communication trends, the reasons why the designers feel that the communication is poor, and finally to generate solutions for how the situation can be improved.
Communication is a complex topic involving many actors so even though the designers are the main focus area, viewing the communication only from their perspective would be too narrow. To truly see the dynamics in the communication a second party should also be involved to cover the issue from two sides, for this reason the mechanical engineers were chosen to participate as well. This is because they, according to Torkel Mellingen, frequently communicate with the designers and this communication greatly affects the quality of the product development.
The survey that was sent out prior to the workshop, covered the communication topic in a very broad sense and uncovered a vide variety of communication trends. However, most importantly it uncovered that the poor communication is highly related to a lack of communication, which has much to do with the fact that there is no visions or goals that ensures cross project communication. However, the survey did not create a substantial overview of what could be done to solve any of the communication problems.
The workshop on the other hand, had a much more narrow view on the topic, focusing on communication within a project and communication between past, present and future projects. It was set up as a set of half-day workshops where day one focused on communication problems, and the participants went through a GAP-analysis. In day two, the GAP-analysis and the survey findings were used as grounds for generating solutions to improve the communication.
The mechanical engineers were unfortunately only represented in the survey and for a few hours in the second half-day workshop. For these reasons their views on the problems and solutions only stem from the communication-survey and from a forum meeting on communication they initiated. The absence of the mechanical engineers from the workshop resulted in the communication within projects being poorly covered since the cross-professional dynamic was lost.
The results from the surveys, workshops and from the forum meeting were clear. The main reasons why the cross-project communication is poor is the fact that the divisions act very separately, which is related to the lack of a vision and motivation to communicate across projects. There is also no formal processes for communication that must be followed, and the quality of the communication becomes very individual. Also, there is no single channel to access even the most basic project information of all projects past and present. There is a substantial gap between today’s work situation at Tandberg and where the employees want it to be, seeing as the employees don’t have the collective work environment where previous experiences are used effectively..
The solutions generated for closing this gap varied greatly in how they addressed the problem. On the one side, strategic solutions were developed such as creating a product development vision to guide the departments in one direction, motivating the employees to communicate, and introducing a new project structuring, all solutions that also will have major effects company wide. On the other hand, more specific solutions were created, such as one single easy to use information sharing database and finally involving project sponsors, and introducing pre-project workshops, solutions that mainly effects communication and information sharing alone.
These solutions were then used as a basis to create more refined ideas, through the use of literature on the topic of communication and learning. Due to the time limitations of the Master Thesis, and given the focus on ensuring that a thorough analysis was used as a basis for any advice, the solutions were not developed in detail.
The refined solutions were rated after expected effect on cross-project communication, requirement fulfillment, and implementation difficulty. This resulted in a priority list of the various solutions, ranking them from most to least benefitial.
Even though all the solutions are expected to be beneficial, the benefits must be viewed against the cost of implementation and use. It was therefore necessary to find the minimum set of solutions that would fulfill the most important solution requirements. Through a final rating it was found that introducing pre-project workshops, developing product development goals, improving the motivation to communicate through cultural changes, and introducing a complete database would in large part be enough to truly improve the communication at Tandberg.
The author’s final recommendation given Tandberg’s current situation is to continue the implementation process focusing on these four aspects. By doing so it is expected that Tandberg will have a much more efficient product development process, utilizing the competencies within the company better, and creating a more consistent product line across the divisions.||nb_NO