A "bottom-up" technique for discovering connections between pieces of data. An individual or group starts with one piece of data (say, a customer need). They then look through the rest of the data they have (say, statements of other customer needs) to find other data (needs) similar to the first, and place it in the samegroup. As they come across pieces of data that differ from those in the first group,they create a new category. The end result is a set of groups where the data containedwithin a category is similar, and the groups all differ in some way. See alsoQualitative Cluster Analysis.
Formal arrangement with a separate company for purposes of development,and involving exchange of information, hardware, intellectual property, or enablingtechnology. Alliances involve shared risk and reward (e.g., co-development projects).(S ee also Chapter 11 of
The PDMA HandBook 2nd Edition)
Pre-production product testing to find and eliminate the most obviousdesign defects or deficiencies, usually in a laboratory setting or in some part of thedeveloping firmís regular operations, although in some cases it may be done incontrolled settings with lead customers. See also beta test and gamma test.
A crucial "first look" at the initial design, usually done in-house. Theresults of the Alpha test either confirm that the product performs according to itsspecifications or uncovers areas where the product is deficient. The testingenvironment should try to simulate the conditions under which the product willactually be used as closely as possible. The Alpha test should not be performed bythe same people who are doing the development work. Since this is the first "flight"for the new product, basic questions of fit and function should be evaluated. Anysuggested modifications or revisions to the specifications should be solicited from all parties involved in the evaluation and considered for inclusion. Since the testing isdone in-house, special care must be taken to remain as objective as possible.
Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP):
A decision-making tool for complex, multi-criteria problems where both qualitative and qua ntitative aspects of a problem needto be incorporated. AHP clusters decision elements according to their commoncharacteristics into a hierarchical structure similar to a family tree or affinity chart.The AHP process was designed by T.L. Saaty.
A firm that follows an imitative innovation strategy, where the goal is toget to market with an equivalent or slightly better product very quickly once someoneelse opens up the market, rather than to be first to market with new products or technologies. Sometimes called an imitator or a "fast follower."
Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD):
A failure analysis method. In this process, developers start from a particular failure of interest as the intendedconsequence and try to devise ways to assure that the failure always happens reliably.T hen the developers use that information to develop ways to better identify steps to