One of the things that is found out in a pre-study is if the concept is good enough. If not, the project can be stopped, or paused until a better concept is found. In this case that is also valuable information, even if you can’t continue developing your measurement system without changes. It will bring you closer to finding the actual solution to how the quality of your product can be determined.
Another aspect is that a pre-study gives you a better cost estimation of the measurement system than the original estimation. That will lead to a better decision if the investment should be made or not, based on facts rather than guesses. You will not take the risk of rejecting a project that was calculated much more expensive than needed. If that happens you will be stuck with your original quality problem because you think a measurement system would cost too much, even if it wouldn’t.
A third reason for performing a pre-study is that all the activities performed during it are things that should be done anyway in the project. You definitely do not want to skip the risk analysis or the project plan, as I explained in my earlier post. So the money spent on a pre-study would have been part of the project cost otherwise. That together with the money you can save by doing things in the right order, definitely makes it cost effective.
One important thing to think about is to make sure the deliverables of the pre-study are your own property. The deliverables are concrete results and documents that you can use for decisions, further development and to learn from for future projects. Then it’s possible to use another supplier for developing the system, than the one making the pre-study. Look upon the pre-study as a way for you to test if a trustful relation can be built with the supplier.
So to make investment decisions based on facts, and to make sure you do things in the right order, don’t be afraid to invest in a pre-study. It will bring you closer to understanding your products issues and performance and in the long run improve its quality.
By Karin Hellqvist