As a key component to leading engineering teams in the implementation of products and processes to the marketplace, GIEL introduces engineering leadership in the context of the end-to-end product development process.

The framework used to drive this portion of the program leads the Candidates step-by-step through a structured product development process.

In each phase, Candidates are tasked to look within their organization for representative procedures corresponding to those covered in class, such as:

  • Interviewing a customer
  • Requirements management
  • Deriving specifications
  • Concept development
  • System and detailed product design
  • User interfaces
  • Design for manufacturing
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management

Exercises aligned with the topics serve to make the Candidates familiar with the detailed flow of product development. This course encompasses a collection of overlapping activities and interdependent series of people-centered processes where authority, decision-making, and boundary conditions are fluid and dynamic.

The techniques are tailored to equip the Candidate with tools that can be immediately applied in the formation, planning, implementation and completion of their Challenge Project. Interspersed through the product development portion of the program are deep dives into qualitative and quantitative methods that improve group problem solving.

These include:

  • Application and practice of Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
  • Deming’s “Plan, Do, Check, Adjust”
  • Failure mode and effects analysis
  • Design of experiments
  • Change management

The final portion of the product development lecture covers broader topics, including:

  • Systems engineering
  • Systems thinking
  • Finance for engineers
  • Politics
  • How complexity, context, the corporation, industry, society, and world influence product evolution

All material in the product development portion of the program is presented within an envelope of the overall product lifecycle, continuously reinforcing the key leadership skill that thinking about things at the front-end and choices made early in the life of the product have the most leverage and greatest impact on the outcome and success of the project.

“Everything we’ve done in the program is so applicable to my job. As an individual contributor, I’d had limited exposure to setting schedules and going through the full phase of a product lifecycle. Now, as a team lead, I regularly define plans for task execution, have conversations to set expectations with my team members and communicate budget and schedule information to program and engineering leadership. I am so glad I was able to practice those skills in a safe environment in the classroom, and now have tools available to handle these situations as they come up.”
Jane Eisenhauer, Gordon Fellow 2014