This research paper examines three project management techniques used by Dell Technologies. The project management topics examined include DMAIC PM, waterfall PM, and New Product Development. DMAIC focuses on defining the problem, measuring its magnitude, analyzing its impact, implementing changes, and controlling processes. Waterfall focuses on software development approaches used to avoid errors and save time. To put it simply, Waterfall PM is a sequential, linear project management method (Project Management Institute, 2018). It is divided into numerous distinct stages. It has discrete processes in that a new phase cannot start until the previous phases are fully executed, and no reverse when each phase is completed. The only option to go back to a previous phase is to restart from the beginning. New Product Development emphasizes approaches used to control new developments. The six phases include the profile phase, planning phase, implementation phase, qualification phase, launch phase, and acceptance phase. The analysis critically evaluates how Dell has adopted effective project management principles, practices, and concepts using the three PM tools. It also indicates how Dell improved their project management using the PM tools examined in the research.
1 Company Background
Dell Technologies, Inc. is a holding company that, via its subsidiaries, provides information technology software, hardware, and service solutions. Michael Saul Dell created the firm in 1984, and it is based in Round Rock, Texas. Its three segments include Vmare, Client Solutions Group (CSG), and Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG). Servers, networking, and storage are all part of the ISG segment and third-party software peripherals. And services that are intimately linked to the selling of ISG hardware. Commercial sales are included in the CSG sector, usually involving sales of computer desktops, laptops, notebooks, and thin client products. VMware’s end-user computing products include computation, networking, security, storage, and cloud management, among other services. Because of its vastness, project management is a key activity at Dell.
2 Project management approaches
2.1 Six Sigma DMAIC project management
Six Sigma is a business technique that aims to reduce the likelihood of making avoidable errors. It is a data process that eliminates flaws using a measurable mechanism. “Six Sigma” is a term used to describe process deviation from its mean measurements. One Sigma represents a single standard deviation from the mean and is derived from the Greek word “sigma,” a factual term for assessing process departure from the procedure mean or target.
2.2 The 5-key principle of Six Sigma
The DMAIC principle is a model used in Six Sigma to eliminate process errors. Six Sigma is a company transformation process. Six Sigma aims to make a technique as effective as possible with an accuracy goal of 99.9999 percent, which translates to a process with 3.4 flaws per million chances or less. Six Sigma is a method of structured critical thinking. The DMAIC structure, linked below in Figure 1, actualizes critical thinking and analytical reasoning in Six Sigma. DMAIC is a powerful PM tool that uses data and statics to reach conclusions.
Figure 1, Shows the DMAIC roadmap that is used in Dell
In the define stage, the process management goals are outlined. The process problem is defined at the earliest stages of Six Sigma. Dell performs other activities in the define stage, including defining the business case, project scope, goal explanation, timelines, resource needs, and estimated benefits. According to Grushka-Cockayne et al. (2018), define a stage is a client-driven approach, and the problem, business case, and everything else should be considered from the customer viewpoint. A growing number of computer companies could threaten Dell’s success. Its CEO is determined to lead innovation and maintain a competitive edge as a forward-thinking brand. As a result, they’ve received complaints regarding the bulk of their computers. There is now a plan to deal with the problem they are experiencing.
Dell’s analytics team creates a data collection process and gathers the relevant data from multiple sources in this step. This is the starting point for determining the process’s performance. This baseline is evaluated against the performance metric of a previous process to see if there has been any substantial improvement. The group determines which data is required and how it should be obtained. The team must conduct an extensive investigation before settling on the data, as the statistics are critical to the DMAIC technique. As a first step, find out how much Dell laptops often weigh; in this situation, the heaviest models would be ideal. Research must be done to figure out how to match that weight without detracting from the quality of the laptop. Such a measurement is required to calculate the typical weights of laptops that clients are determined to buy.
2.2.3 Analyze stage
The root causes of the problem and process deviations are discovered by evaluating the data. Many probable root causes are found, and the top three or four are chosen for further validation using multi-voting or any other consensus tool. The data is collected and examined to identify genuine root causes, and the procedure is repeated until valid root causes are identified. The major drivers of a deformity are identified using sophisticated data analysis technologies. Statistics visualization of data is done in fishbone charts, histograms, Pareto graphs, and regression analysis. This helps Dell to characterize the causes of process variation, Chi-square, ANOVA, and visualization lapses are used for further analysis. Now that they have the information necessary to attempt lightening their computers, they are planning their efforts. Dell intends to increase the number of lighter laptops in the market, but if the consumer doesn’t want a lighter laptop for quality reasons, they are ready to restart at square one.
2.2.4 Improve stage
In this step, Dell focuses on identifying and addressing the underlying sources of problems. Creative solutions are generated for many manufacturing and supply chain problems using technology and discipline. The solution is usually developed using brainstorming sessions and Six Thinking Hats. The quality assurance team prioritizes the simplest and most obvious options. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is then used to test the various solutions. Some hazards may be avoided during the improvement process; therefore, the team looks for them when the results are in. Failure mechanism and effects analysis is used to do this. The next step is to put the improvement strategy into action and monitor the results. A laptop with quality or weight concerns can be improved by using the lighter materials used in high-end laptops while keeping the rest of the specifications the same. When it comes to product quality, Dell is considering computer performance-enhancing gadgets.
This is the final step in ensuring that the improvement does not go backward and become faulty again. In the end, the CEO and top management meet to decide which technological innovations the company should adopt in the future to improve the current situation without incurring unusual costs. In all aspects of Dell’s business, from manufacturing, supply chain, marketing to customer service, it has emerged as a leader. Attaining such significant milestones is made possible by effectively and efficiently utilizing the expertise and resources of their workforce. Numerous employees and tech experts make the necessary adjustments based on their feedback on how well or poorly their computers are working.
2.2.6 The bottom-line
Let’s assume that this is how they deal with all of their issues, or at least how they handle all of their issues from a six-sigma DMAIC perspective. Six Sigma has both advantages and disadvantages, even though it’s been successful in many industries. A well-known fact is that Six Sigma has a demonstrated track record of incrementally improving a service or product to increase value and ensure quality (Cheng & Krumwiede, 2018). It can also be used to improve supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction.
3 The waterfall project management
The waterfall model is commonly used for businesses entering or developing into overseas markets. It is referred to as a “waterfall” because it progresses in stages rather than all at once. In a waterfall, water can only flow down a cliff without reversing. Before moving on to the next phase, the previous one must be finished, and there can be no phases that overlap. Figure 2 shows the sequential stages involved in a waterfall model. The waterfall approach has several advantages over the sprinkler system. The Dell Corporation is one of the fortune 100 corporations that have successfully entered new markets by utilizing it.
Figure 2, shows the waterfall model
3.1 Benefits of the waterfall approach
Dell has used the waterfall technique for many years to gain a foothold in overseas markets. With the waterfall approach, it is possible to enter a new market systematically while still utilizing resources in the most efficient manner possible. By entering a foreign market, Dell can extend the lifecycle of its technologies and gather the necessary knowledge to approach new foreign markets.
When considering foreign investments, it is better to enter a single market at a time to assess the associated risks and learn how to mitigate them before moving on to the next area. Dell moves from one market to the next to reduce the losses and pricey risks connected with computer products. It also provides market stability since a company may adjust to the new market’s economic regulations, establish a strategy for operating, and promptly obtain essential resources. With considerable marketing, Dell assures that it is adequately stable to beat the competition operating in the same industry. The accumulation of business knowledge is also linked to waterfall. Dell expands to a new market by acquiring business capabilities in a foreign market. When it comes to efficiency, waterfalls are the best.
3.2 The bottom-line
There are also a few dangers linked with waterfall project management. According to the Ambysoft survey (2021), the failure rate associated with the waterfall model is 18% compared to the agile model, which has a lower failure rate of 8%. The inability to run various phases simultaneously means that long-term and ongoing projects may take long. Using the waterfall model in software developments makes it very challenging to implement change programs when newer computer models are introduced. As a result, Dell utilizes the waterfall model for market expansion projects and the agile model in software projects.
4 New Product Development
Management of product development requires innovative mindsets, resilience, and research skills. The R&D group at Dell is responsible for developing computer systems and products that are sold to third parties. Dell is in charge of all phases of the product lifecycle, from conception and design to manufacturing and distribution. In addition, the company is in charge of overseeing all product modifications, updates, and maintenance. Project management is critical to successful product development, from conception to completion, and communication with other agencies on technical issues.
4.1 The original product development methods
Originally, Dell’s product development approach design was a bit chaotic. Amateurish and haphazard, the procedure was lacking in structure. There was no responsibility or management in the first step of the process. Each team was comprised of engineers who occasionally composed an identical strategy. Second, these teams failed to conduct adequate risk assessments. The teams overlooked risks because they all had the same perspective. It was found that projects were being moved to the subsequent development level before they were ready. Because of this, many of Dell’s projects occasionally failed, costing the company time and money that may be better spent elsewhere.
4.2 New Product Development projects
This time around, the new product development plan was more structured. Engineers and managers from various backgrounds formed the “core teams,” which were characterized by their diversity of viewpoints. Dell wanted its groups to be diverse to foster discussion and debate. There was an outside manager assigned to each group to oversee the project from conception to completion. As a result, the groups were held liable for their actions and judgments. In the new process, there were six steps, each lasting around three months. A project took about 18 months from start to finish. The six steps are summarized in Figure 3.
4.2.1 Profile phase
Team members would put together a manual detailing everything they knew about the upcoming product and the market in which it would be sold. They conceptualized the product, features, and marketing processes that best suit the product.
4.2.2 Planning phase
Senior management must review the product’s business case before proceeding to the next phase.
Product prototypes must be designed and tested, and orders should be placed with the suppliers.
4.2.4 Qualification phase
Prototypes are built by teams, and key customers are given a chance to provide feedback.
22.214.171.124 Launch phase
Customer satisfaction is tested throughout the product’s lifecycle, from opening the package to putting it up and utilizing it. Orders placed by early adopters have been fulfilled.
4.2.5 Acceptance phase
Teams collect customer feedback and report findings using actual results.
4.3 The bottom-line
Without a doubt, the new product development approach is more organized compared to the previous approach. Dell has more growth opportunities with its new product development. The company should maintain proven products such as NiHi batteries, as durable batteries are ideal for the target markets (Larson, Gray, & Desai, 2021).
This research paper examined three project management techniques used by Dell Technologies. The project management topics examined include DMAIC PM, waterfall PM, and New Product Development. DMAIC method has a demonstrated track record of incrementally improving a service or product to increase value and ensure quality. It can also be used to improve supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction. However, it is unlikely to give the firm a competitive edge since many tech companies apply it equally. The main problem with the Waterfall model is the inability to run various phases simultaneously means that long-term and ongoing projects may take a very long time. Using the waterfall model in software developments makes it very challenging to implement change programs when newer computer models are introduced. As a result, Dell utilizes the waterfall model for market expansion projects and the agile model in software projects. The agile method is arguably the best approach for Dell going forward.
The new product development approach is more organized compared to the previous approach. Dell has more growth opportunities with its new product development. The modernization of the core infrastructure is a critical part of the transition that is taking place in Dell today. It is increasingly difficult for suppliers to develop solutions that can increase operational efficiencies and allow enterprises to speed the transition to hybrid cloud environments that support current cloud-native apps in these highly scattered and complex environments. Marketing and supply chain complexities have a notable impact on Dell’s business. Despite the need for change, the company should try to maintain proven products such as the NiHi batteries as durable batteries are ideal for the target markets. While the waterfall project management could be used during the market expansion to save costs, the penetration into these markets could be slower. The agile model has to be implemented in marketing so that Dell will simultaneously enrol in different markets.
Cheng, C. C., & Krumwiede, D. (2018). Enhancing the performance of supplier involvement in new product development: the enabling roles of social media and firm capabilities. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal.
Grushka-Cockayne, Y., Erat, S., Wooten, J., Donohue, K., Katok, E., & Leider, S. (2018). New product development and project management decisions. In The Handbook of Behavioral Operations (pp. 367-392). NJ: Wiley. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328406322_New_Product_Development_and_Project_Management_Decisions.
Larson, E. W., Gray, C. F., & Desai, G. V. (2021). Project management: The managerial process. 8th edition.
Project Management Institute. (2018). Guide to the project management body of knowledge. Project management inst.
Appendix A: New Product development chart