Review Checklists: Preliminary Design Review


Quick Summary
Checklist for Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR), to allow the Project Leader and team to suggest alternatives in product performance, time-to-market, product and project cost, and risks.


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What this is

Checklist for Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR). In the Quality Rapid Product Development methodology (QRPD), these are the first early design reviews that commence when enough high-level design work and investigations have been done to allow the Project Leader and team to suggest alternatives in product Performance, Time-to-market; product Cost, and project Cost, and risks. Design should only have occurred at the sub-system and block diagram level at this point.


Why it's useful

To reach a consensus decision on the best way to proceed with the overall system design; to consider the various design alternatives, their corresponding PTCC tradeoffs, and how well they meet requirements such as manufacturability; to identify potential project pitfalls; and to make trade-off decisions.


How to use it

The Preliminary Design Review should be organized and led by the project team leader. The team leader should use the following preparation, agenda, and follow-up suggestions as a starting point for organizing the review.

Prepare the following materials:
  • Current draft of Product Vision/ high level project charter/spec
  • List of open Vision issues--any features the team has not yet decided to support, etc.
  • Summary of each design alternative; architecture and high-level design documents
  • Technological risk assessments
  • Trade-off tables showing different schedule/ design/ cost alternatives
  • Any cost-benefit analyses done to decide among different features
  • Any recommendations the team has about how to proceed
Typical PDR agenda:
  • Briefly remind team of key Vision elements.
  • Review the elements of the high-level design or designs. Identify areas where the design concept might not work.
  • Step the team through the current trade-off table. Present each alternative, answering the questions in the PDR checklist. Discuss any detail about the design alternatives necessary to understand the trade-off table elements.
  • Create action items.
PDR Minutes and other outputs:
  • List of agreed-upon changes to the Vision, based on trade-off decisions made in this meeting; and list of remaining key Vision items to resolve
  • Revised design document
  • Action items with names and due-dates assigned
  • Updated Critical Issues and Dependencies List, including open items to keep iterating on

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Related Templates
Detailed Design Review Checklist
Held during the Execution Phase, after a preliminary specification has been written, and sufficient detailed design work and/or simulation has occurred.

Critical Design Review Checklist
Held when a prototype exists that everyone can huddle around and constructively criticize.

Final Design Review Checklist
Held after all design and documentation and most if not all testing is completed. Last milestone in the design process before release to pilot manufacturing.

Technique Brief - Context Diagrams
Context diagrams are a time-tested method for using simple symbols to illustrate a system's boundaries, benefits, interactions, and data flows. Simple sketches can aid discussions of project features and scope, and detailed graphical interface specifications can improve communication and understanding with non-technical stakeholders.




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