When I say the word ‘Preliminary’, this is what I mean, see?


I said preliminary dammit!

Design maturity, the maturity of designers and the ‘don’t boil the ocean’ principle

After an interminable discussion with some engineering colleagues as to what the expectation of a design team should be when they saw the word ‘preliminary’, I got fed up and stomped back to my workstation to once more nail this particular issue to the floor. In this organisation and for this project at least. 🙂

Herewith the definitions for the benefit of humanity, and no they are not entirely original, see Leviticus:

  • Preliminary – The initial submission of an item. To be completed as is practicable at the time of preparation. The item is intended as an input to a review process (and may be used as an initial guide/input to follow on efforts) and should be sufficiently complete to allow such a review to be conducted. Incompleteness must be indicated and any work to complete noted in the document.
  • Example: A preliminary specification is (when approved) deemed to be ‘good enough’ to guide further development but will be subject to further refinement before a final release.
  • Final – The complete, thorough submission of the item for approval or information. No incompleteness is allowed and the document can be baselined and placed under formal change control (if required). Full compliance with quality standards for format etc required.
  • Example: A production drawing release for full production.
  • Current – The best up to date information available at the time.
  • Example: A weekly mass estimate report has a ‘current’ maturity.

The maturity of products absolutely needs to be established as part of the WBS Dictionary and Data Requirements List for a project. Of course if you don’t know what these are then I cheerfully submit that you have bigger problems. The maturity of people and organisations is the real problem… Domo Arigato 🙂