Tag Archive for: Complex Product Development

In this blog, we recap the “Moving from Modules to Models – Is it finally time to leave IBM® DOORS® behind?” webinar.

As products grow increasingly complex, many teams are asking themselves if they have become complacent in how we approach requirements management and the value it delivers.

Regardless of the industry, requirements are critical to a shared understanding of the solution. They provide the foundation for traceability and regulatory compliance across the product or software’s lifecycle. Many companies are finding that using IBM® DOORS® for requirements management limits their ability to lay that common foundation.

In this webinar, experts from Persistent Systems and Jama Software® will discuss issues and challenges around the continued use of IBM® DOORS® and show how adopting a model-based requirements approach enables best practices to realize greater value from your engineering initiatives.

In this session, we will cover:

  • An overview of why requirements management is critical
  • Common challenges and pitfalls companies face
  • Best practices enabled by a model-based engineering approach
  • The path to successful adoption, reducing migration uncertainty and risk
  • How to start your migration journey

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Moving from Modules to Models – Is it finally time to leave IBM® DOORS® behind?

Richard Watson: Hi folks, my name is Richard Watson. I work with Jama Software. I’m a practice director with Jama. My history is around systems engineering. I’ve been a systems engineer, I guess, for about 30 odd years, mostly with DOORS and DOORS Next. So my previous role was the product manager of DOORS before I moved into Jama Software. I’m thrilled today to be joined by Kathryn Fryer. Kathryn works for Persistent Systems and she too has got about 30 years of systems engineering experience. And she and I worked for a long time together inside of IBM, working on both DOORS and DOORS Next Generation. We’re here today to talk about data model consistency, and perhaps migrating your data to a consistent data model. So we’re going to start with Kathryn. So Kathryn, over to you.

Related: Jama Connect® Solution for IBM® DOORS®

Kathryn Fryer: Okay. Thanks, Richard. So I just wanted to start, for those of you who might not be familiar with Persistent Systems, we are a global company, been around for actually about 30 years, over 700 million in revenue and that was a huge increase year over year. And if you move to the next slide, we cover many different industries and solutions, and we partner with many different companies, everyone from Salesforce to Microsoft, to IBM and Jama.

So with that brief introduction, let’s move on to the topic at hand and talk about requirements management and model-based engineering. So these quotes might be familiar to you, certainly, the sentiment that they convey is familiar, requirements management is key to the success of software and systems projects, and poor requirements management is the single largest reason for project failure. And the costs of failure can be billions of dollars or pounds or euros, the cost of product recalls, of missing regulatory compliance, and never mind as we get into some of these industries, the cost affecting human life. So I know you’re all familiar with that and you know how important requirements management is, or you wouldn’t be here today. So if we move to the next slide, Richard?

Related: The Comprehensive Guide to Successfully Adopting Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) 

Kathryn Fryer: So what makes it hard? Why are we still talking about it? And there’s four CS here, I think I refer to them in the past as well. And I don’t think these are new, this list is familiar. This has been true for a number of years now, and it continues to be true. Solutions become increasingly complex. We have more components, more moving pieces, more integrations, more dependencies. We have more contributors involved in delivering the solutions. So we need to collaborate, not even just within your organization, across the teams in your organization, but across different suppliers and then their suppliers. We have these diverse engineering teams, diverse tools, diverse processes, and we need that collaboration, the handshakes, the clear handoffs, and the understanding of the context, there’s another C I didn’t put on the slide, and how all the things must work together.

We need to manage change. Change is the only constant, right? So we need to stay on top, not just of changes in our project, but also changes in technologies and changes in standards and compliance. Compliance seems to be growing and evolving all the time. The specifics are going to vary by your industry and by your geography, but compliance is necessary in almost every industry now, I think, and that’s only going to grow with things like AI and autonomous capabilities and all that fun stuff. So there’s lots of things that we need to deal with.

Watch the full webinar to learn more: Moving from Modules to Models – Is it finally time to leave IBM® DOORS® behind?


Complex Insurance Product Development

In this blog, we recap a webinar discussing simplifying and optimizing processes in complex insurance product development.

Insurance companies are facing significant competitive pressures for new individualized products and services. The slow pace of digital advancement by insurance companies has hampered the product development process. Consider cumbersome regulatory oversight, legacy infrastructure, functional and team silos, and long-entrenched processes and culture, and you have a perfect recipe for lengthy development cycles that lead to time-to-market delays.

The reality is that insurance product development is becoming more and more complex, where product requirements need to be managed seamlessly without needless roadblocks. The carriers have been slow to adopt transformational technology, with many teams still using Word documents, spreadsheets, email, and lengthy meetings to make decisions — adding unnecessary time and risk to the development process.

To overcome these challenges and deliver compliant, market-driven products, it’s vital that all stakeholders and business analysts can identify risks early on and establish connections with your development organization throughout the process.

In this webinar, Jama Software and industry experts Alan Demers and Carla Alavarez join forces to cover how to eliminate silos and increase efficiency by aligning teams across the entire product development lifecycle.

Learn more about how to deliver high-quality insurance products on time and on budget, with the ability to:

  • Increase visibility across all development activities
  • Empower your business analyst organization
  • Enable real-time collaboration across all development teams
  • Track decisions efficiently to avoid rework
  • Benchmark and monitor team performance over time

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Simplifying and Optimizing Processes in Complex Insurance Product Development

Carla Alavarez: When we think about product, we as consumers within our everyday purchase products for a variety of reasons. It’s no different in insurance. As an individual or business, there’s products for purchase that in exchange provide a level of production. So depending on a carrier, this could be a product tailored to meet your specific need or suite of products that can serve you both on a personal and commercial basis. As we look where the industry is headed, we’re starting to see a shift in the product development and how a traditional product is packaged, marketed and sold. An example of a traditional insurance product is personal or business auto insurance. With the shifting behaviors in the market, we’re seeing a shift in the way people are working. You either had them being in a hybrid or full remote position, so the amount that individual is on the road is decreasing.

Auto insurance product is one of the more developed in today’s markets. It has been modernized and redeveloped to meet driver protection needs today with new product offerings, such as usage base or pay as you go insurance. These newer products focus on providing protection and pricing based on the customer’s needs today, versus how it’s traditionally annually rated and priced. So with the shift in technology and customer protection needs, the product development is key to remaining competitive in today’s market.

Related: Simplify Complex Insurance Product Development with Jama Connect®

Brian Morrisroe: Great. Thank you for that clarity, Carla. I appreciate it. So, Alan, we’ve mentioned that the industry’s becoming more complex. Can you talk to us a little bit about what is the current state of the industry as it relates to PNC space from your perspective?

Alan Demers: Sure thing, Brian, thank you for having me as well. There’s a lot going on in the PNC insurance industry. That’s probably an understatement. So when you think about the whole industry, very highly competitive going through lots of change to modernize, that’s probably the headline. Other influences such as climate and cyber risk workforce inflationary pressures, those are more current issues that are really creating a lot of change and a lot of pressure to what’s all already a turbulent space. So cost of materials, parts, medical services, they’re all rising. We know that, and that goes into inflationary pressure, which puts higher premiums and really causes companies to think a lot about their pricing. Really at the top, the PNC market’s been more competitive than ever. This is especially true in home and auto. Market share battle among the top 10, especially the top five, is continually shifting.

There’s been some acquisitions along the way. There’s also this shift for a lot of the multi-line carriers to balance both their commercial along with their home and auto lines. Future of mobility is maybe driving some of that in the future projections on where auto insurance might be down the road. Then the other overarching issues that carrier facing is the cost of customer acquisition and high underwriting costs along with a desire for speed and ease. So that’s kind of the backdrop. Then, more precisely, there’s just been this explosion of external influences through InsureTech movement. Then that’s combined with the internal innovation efforts that many of the carriers are going through. I would say all the carriers are going through that.

Related: A Guide to Requirements Elicitation for Product Teams 

Alan Demers: Digitizing and growing digital adoption, that creates higher demand and higher consumer expectations at the same time. But that’s really where the industry is trying to get to is more self-services, more digital offerings to help bring down some of those costs. Then really a shift from traditional insurance protection to more avoidance and mitigation of loss. I think this is one of the more exciting developments in the industry because we all can relate to you buy an insurance policy and hope that something bad doesn’t happen. The industry is really there to help pay and protect you that way, which is a good thing, but even better if there is technology that can be deployed to help you avoid a loss or mitigate it all together at the beginning.

So some of the product, and Carla mentioned this, there’s a number of new products that should companies are launching. Usage in behavior-based auto insurance is a pretty popular one. Sensor technology for detection and avoidance, that could be to avoid a collision such as distracted driving avoidance or detect a leak in a home that may cause further water damage. Embedded insurance is really a trending topic. You can gauge whether it’s a buzzword or if it’s a real thing, but what’s changed about embedded insurance is just the opportunity to combine insurance at the point of sale and do that much easier with today’s technology.

Then finally, personal cyber protection and work from home, which is really a new thing because of the pandemic and the shift and hybrid work models and so forth. So really, when you think about nearly every part of insurance is going through some form of change and modernization, whether it’s distribution, underwriting, servicing customers or claims, and likewise new insurance models are inspiring new insurance products. So really a lot happening and it’s really translates to demand for new insurance protection.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about Simplifying and Optimizing Processes in Complex Insurance Product Development


In this blog post, we recap a webinar discussing why Word & Excel are not enough to manage complex requirements. 

Product development is more complex today than ever before. Modern products are multifaceted and multidisciplinary, with hardware, software, and various engineering approaches coming together in the name of superior customer experience. Many industries — medical device, automotive, and aerospace and defense, for instance — also require that complex product developers adhere to rigorous safety standards and regulations. Companies must work effectively and efficiently if they’re going to keep their competitive advantage. And that all starts with requirements management.

In this webinar, experts will discuss how you can manage your requirements in a more efficient way than document and look at how to navigate between different versions (version control) and how to collaborate with your team on your requirements.

You will learn more about:

  • How using Word and Excel for requirements management introduces risk to your product development
  • The pitfalls of not having a formal requirements management solution
  • Benefits of a data-driven approach to requirements management
  • How Jama Software can help

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of our webinar.

Excel and Word Are Not Enough

Jerogen Frikken: All right. Thank you Marie for the great introduction. So today we’re going to focus on the requirement management tools and why Word and Excel just isn’t enough. We will first talk about the challenges in the pitfalls you will encounter when using a document based approach for your requirement management process. We will then show you the benefits of a data driven approach and why this is the preferred methods over a document approach. And we will end with an overview of how Jama could actually help you with this and close with a Q & A.

The development of products and the delivery of them are more complex today than ever before. Products today are having many different parts and are combining hardware, software, and various engineering approaches all together. Many industries like the medical device, automotive and aerospace and defense industry, for instance, also require that complex product developers apply to safety standards and regulations. Organizations have to work in a more efficient and […] if they want to stay ahead to their competition. Despite this, many teams are still using Word and Excel to manage requirements for these very complex products. This means they’re missing real time collaboration and insights, end to end traceability and integration with product testing.

RELATED POST: How To Write An Effective Product Requirements Document

Jerogen Frikken: Now, I am sure most of you are familiar with the term requirements management. But just in case you are not requirements management is the process of making sure you build just the right products. And for products that will have different releases or versions over time, understanding the changes to these requirements and their impact is a continuous process throughout the complete development cycle.

Basically you can view requirements management in three different ways. First, obtain and document the requirements. In a world of competing priorities and different opinions this is always a challenge and typically the responsibility of business analysts, system engineering and product owners.

Secondly, once we have documented the requirements we need to review and confirm they are the correct requirements. Are the requirements we document really what the user or the customer needs? Confirming this is often called the process of validation. And this is typically done by product managers, customers or users.

Last but not least. You may need to work with the requirements so you can confirm the teams have built the products according to the documented requirements. This process is typically called verifying the requirements or verification. Developers, testers, and quality assurance leads are key stakeholders in this process.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about Why Excel and Word Are Not Enough.



Medical Device Development

Editor’s Note: This posts on lessons learned around medical device development during COVID 19 was originally published here by MedTech Intelligence and written by Josh Turpen, Jama Software’s Chief Product Officer.

In the fall, I wrote about how the medical technology industry has struggled to keep pace with other, similar industries. In the piece, I discuss how important it is for engineers designing those products to move gradually and carefully, even when under immense pressure, to reduce time-to-market. Now, a year on from the stay-at-home order issuance across the United States, it’s time to take stock on what temporary measures need to be made permanent to grow as an industry.

As we move forward into a post-pandemic world, it is important that companies are explicit with the lessons that they have learned from this past year. Executive staff, rightfully so, have been focused on keeping things going. Now the focus should shift to “how do we exit the pandemic in a better place than when we entered?” This is where it becomes important to create an open dialogue about what was successful and what could have been done better. This will assist in making those temporary adjustments a permanent fixture in medical device production.

Before we look towards a post-pandemic world, though, we need to evaluate where things went wrong and how to better address them moving forward.

What Have We Learned?

If COVID-19 taught us anything it is that we need to be more efficient at speed-to-market when creating products, especially when it comes to medical product production. Additionally, gone are the days of person-to-person-only collaboration. Organizations now have the capabilities for a hybrid environment consisting of remote and in-person teams.

The complexities of product development within health and life sciences should not be a surprise. What is more alarming is that, as the complexity of medical devices increases, we still have many engineering teams that are relying on decades-old technology such as Word documents and spreadsheets to manage requirements, risk assessment and testing. These legacy tools have a place in most of the professional world, however, they are not adequate for development teams who need to achieve alignment with massive amounts of data, regulations and standards to ensure device safety and quality.

As these device management teams face immense pressure to innovate while collaborating across software, hardware and quality teams, it is essential that their work is tracked and seamless to meet the increasing pace of market demand. That’s why we have seen traceability evolve to account for the complex, ever-changing nature of requirements, test and risk management. For a growing company to be successful, everything must be able to work simultaneously, at scale and across teams. Legacy tools do not provide the agile capabilities that modern traceability does.

It hasn’t been easy for engineering teams to adjust to their fully remote workplace. Even organizations that offered a hybrid working model previously are struggling to ensure their teams are aligned to meet delivery dates and project deadlines. The organizations that will have a distinct advantage over others are those focused on collaboration and context within their teams. These teams will be best set up to quickly build high-quality products, further ensuring better patient outcomes.

RELATED: How to Executive a Successful Design Review When Building Medical Devices

Where We Go from Here

As mentioned previously, the best course of action following this difficult year is to ensure company leaders are shifting their focus towards figuring out how to leave their companies in a better place following the pandemic, versus where they were when they entered. Based on my experiences as the chief product officer for a leading requirements, risk, and test management platform, I have noticed a few key ways that executives in the medtech industry can better prepare themselves moving forward.

1. Adaptability

In general, companies that have adaptability embedded in their DNA have already handled the peaks and valleys of the pandemic far better than those that remained rigid in their approach. Looking ahead, it will be immensely important to evaluate your process assumptions and determine how resilient you are to change.

Without a malleable business model, a company will constantly be scrambling any time it hits a road bump. However, with the right digital tools at your disposal, your company will be able to adapt quickly and effortlessly, allowing your employees and customers to remain calm in times of crisis.

2. Alignment

While companies in all industries adapt their business models to prepare for the new normal, innovative tech companies are transforming the devices and systems they build, and the technology and process they use to build them. Newer technologies in the medical field, like robotics nanotechnology and wearable health tech devices, bring added complexities for medical device companies. There is an additional risk for patients and consumers, which makes having the right product development solution in place even more important.

Medical device companies that embrace a proactive approach to quality will ultimately find fewer issues with their products, improve customer satisfaction, and stay competitive for the foreseeable future. To do this quickly and efficiently, though, teams must be aligned throughout the entire product development lifecycle. By leveraging an integrated platform for requirements management, teams can stay interconnected and deliver high-quality products that improve patient outcomes.

RELATED: Your Guide to Selecting a Medical Device Development Platform

3. Preparation

Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” As we look ahead into 2021, I believe it is unlikely we will see large regulatory changes in the medtech industry. However, over the next decade, a great increase in regulations for medical device development is definitely looming. So what can a company do in the meantime? Tighten up your risk management practices, before it’s too late.

The fact is, the medtech industry will always grow at a rapid pace, and regulations will follow. To avoid being left behind by events such as, finding regulatory issues in late-stage device development, and then having to implement confronting costly and time-consuming rework, your teams must align and future-proof the entire development lifecycle.

Future-proofing is the process of using digital tools to capture knowledge and ease accessibility for future employees, independent of the product development lifecycle stage. Employing future-proofing strategies helps company leaders and decision-makers ensure symbiosis throughout the entire process. Future-proofing is key in the age of digital transformation, as it helps address common concerns about collaborative environments, team efficiencies, and product integrations. A software that is up to this task will help you do this in three ways:

  • Comprehensively enables collaboration by giving users a single source of truth to track decisions, questions, and problems
  • Increase team efficiency by capturing knowledge within that single source—often without even realizing it—through feedback and team communication.
  • Seamlessly integrates digital tools that track development and with other information gathering and tracking solutions, knowledge is captured at multiple levels, streamlining future projects.

4. Harmony

Finally, to be successful, there will need to be harmonization on the development methodology across different devices, reducing the need to work off of different documents. Each product in development has its own particular set of customers, stakeholders and internal team members associated with it. Therefore, it is important that these individuals can be accurately connected to the items for which they are responsible. Enter traceability.

Traceability is all about relationships. To make informed choices, product development professionals need tools that allow them to see changes in real-time, within the team’s structure, and throughout the system where their product exists. Modern traceability makes it possible to manage and respond to change with confidence in a systematic and auditable way. When done correctly, traceability can be used as a key tool to allow for harmonious decision-making. Without it, accountability is incomplete and past decisions can’t easily be seen, learned from or built upon.

Overall, COVID-19 has been industry-defining as companies were made to quickly shift how their teams collaborated, now forced to have a remote workforce. As we see the light at the end of the tunnel it’s time to look towards the future of medical device development. Let’s take all that we’ve learned from this past year and use it to ensure that we’re putting out high-quality products, quickly and accurately.

product development platform

We’ve seen numerous organizations adopt Jama Connect™ to help manage the complexity of modern product development. And from this, we’ve gained incredible insight into what makes organizations successful before – and after – adopting Jama Connect. One thing we’ve learned is that getting executive buy-in for the adoption of a modern product development platform can make the difference between success and failure.

While Jama Connect is a powerful product development platform, organizations who deploy our solution in conjunction with the following processes see the most tangible success.

With the proper implementation, communication, and support networks in place, Jama Connect can help you:

  • Build higher-quality products with fewer defects and less risk and rework
  • Bring your products to market faster and more efficiently
  • Decrease time spent in meetings so that more time can be spent innovating

Gaining Executive Sponsorship and What it Means for Your Product Development Platform Rollout

Transforming your product development process involves much more than just purchasing a platform – it demands involvement and commitment from many parts of an organization. Perhaps most importantly, it requires executive buy-in and support.

Gaining the support of an executive sponsor is critical to the success of Jama Connect within your organization. The sponsor’s primary role is to ensure that the implementation and deployment of Jama Connect aligns with the organization’s strategic goals and business objectives while also communicating Jama Connect’s business value across the organization.

In fact, if you take one lesson from this blog, it’s this:

Having an executive sponsor (or more than one) helps ensure that:

  • Leadership supports the initiative
  • The value of the product development platform is adequately communicated to all parties
  • Proper resources are assigned
  • Adoption is prioritized
  • Any roadblocks that may arise during the rollout are cleared
  • Issues are elevated to the right people in order to continue as planned

Executive sponsors are also accountable for the success of the product development platform within the organization and have the authority to implement recommended process changes that may arise during the project rollout.

Communication Before, During, and After Implementing Your Rollout

A product development platform is an investment. If you want your team and executive leadership to understand the value of it, you must identify your key business objectives, the corresponding challenges, and demonstrate how the solution can help (for instance, speeding time to market, cutting costs, mitigating risk).

Once you’ve identified the key business objectives that can be directly tied to Jama Connect, communicate this to end-users and anyone else who is impacted by the implementation. Expect to be asked “Why Jama?,” and have a clear answer for which business objectives Jama Connect helps solve.

Some organizations make the mistake of believing that adopting Jama Connect only affects product development teams. The truth is, implementing a new platform and process is far-reaching, and needs to be communicated across the organization. In fact, for the sake of transparency and clarity, you’ll want to have a good answer for “What’s in it for me?” for each impacted stakeholder.

You’ll especially want to consider the needs and objectives of the following people:

  • Managers and executives
  • Requirements management owners (product managers, BAs, system engineers)
  • Engineering / Development teams (HW/SW Engineers)
  • Test teams
  • Quality/Compliance teams

Change is Difficult – Make it Worth the Effort

Of course, the most important teams to communicate with are ones that will use Jama Connect on a daily basis. The primary impacted stakeholders will be more receptive to a major change if they are participating in the process, rather than being told that they must adopt a new tool.

Change is difficult, and without a full understanding of the benefits of using a new product development platform, teams may feel frustrated or resistant. One way to preemptively combat resistance is by identifying long- and short-term goals for each team involved.

Make sure to give teams context into why this is important, along with what changes to expect and when. Be prepared to explain the benefits of Jama – how it will improve workflows and how it will support corporate objectives.

PRO TIP: Ask your executive sponsor to continue the communication across the organization with a monthly update that keeps the teams informed about what Jama is, why it exists and how it’s empowering your organization to meet its goals. For internal communication, this content could easily be incorporated into any existing recurring communication channel your leadership uses.



Jama Software’s VP of Product Development, Jeremy Johnson, was recently a guest on The Product Launch podcast, hosted by Sean Boyce. In this episode, Balancing Discipline and Agility in Product Management, Johnson and Boyce discussed the following topics:

  • The benefits of a non-technical background in being effective in product management
  • How understanding the functional areas of an organization will help you be a better product manager
  • How to perform product management effectively in a complex environment with a team
  • The importance of effective process in ensuring that product management is done well
  • How sharing responsibility on your product team can affect increase agility and consistency
  • The Jama Connect value proposition and how their customers benefit from using it
  • The importance of receiving feedback direct from customers
  • How to move faster in product development by being more thorough with your product design and testing process

It was a great discussion and we don’t want you to miss the important content that was covered. Below is a recording of the podcast, and an abbreviated transcript.

Balancing Discipline and Agility in Product Management with Jama Software’s Jeremy Johnso‪n‬

Sean Boyce: Hello, and welcome back to the Product Launch Podcast. As always, I’m the host, Sean Boyce, CEO and founder of NxtStep. I would like to welcome my guest to the show today, Jeremy Johnson. Jeremy is the VP of product management at Jama Software. Hello, Jeremy, how are you? And thanks for being on the show.

Jeremy Johnson: Doing well. Thanks, Sean. I appreciate it.

Sean Boyce: Absolutely. We’re excited to talk more about your expertise and product management and an expert level is such that you’re effectively managing currently at Jama. But before we get there, if you could fill in some of the background for our listeners to take us to how you became the VP of product management at Jama.

Jeremy Johnson: Sure, absolutely. So I think really as many, if not most people in product management, I really got into product management by accident. Came here more from a sales and marketing background, had interests since I was very, very young in technology, but didn’t take the typical path through engineering background which tends to be dominant. But got into product management, spent most of my career in product management and in particular product management in general and product management leadership that is. And came to Jama just about one year ago after spending about 12 years in enterprise environmental health and safety software. Really drawn to Jama for a few things. It was a good transition for me, really very interesting product, really very strong market position. And the interesting nuance with Jama is that we work with some of the most innovative companies in the world on their product development.

Jeremy Johnson: So we’re working with companies in aerospace, in electric vehicles, and medical devices and those kinds of industries, and we’re integrated within their product development process. So not only is there a very high level of engagement and satisfaction from a personal work standpoint with the work that we do at Jama, but from us, it feels like an extended family with all of these other companies that we have at least some part of their process to get these innovative products to market. So it’s a very, very interesting company and it’s a very interesting space. And so that really drew me to Jama. I have a personal interest in the automotive space and really brought me here just over a year ago. I was just starting to kind of match names with faces and things right when the pandemic hit. And so that added, of course, an interesting twist to this new endeavor. But it’s been an interesting journey and it’s really a fun place and an interesting challenge from a product management standpoint.

RELATED: 3 Ways Products Became More Complex in the Last Five Years

Sean Boyce: Thanks for sharing your background. It’s interesting to hear you talk about it. And we’ve talked about this before, how you got into product management and I agree. I find the story is fascinating for where we all come from to get into product management. I feel like that’s also telling of the role. Really helps to round out the skillset per se. You had mentioned from a sales background as opposed to a more traditional technical or engineering background, if you will. I would be curious to hear your perspective on that a little bit as well too, because other people… This is a common question that I get quite a bit from aspiring product managers and existing product managers in terms of how important is it to have that technical expertise to be effective in the role.

Sean Boyce: Obviously, you’ve done quite well at it and you come from that sales background. It’s always been my perspective that, to me, one of the most important things a product manager can do is really capturing the essence of the challenges and problems of the customer and making sure that those problems get solved in the product. And I can only imagine that having a sales background can really help when it comes to those things because obviously you spend a lot of time interacting with customers. But anyway, I’d love to get your perspective on that topic because I know that one’s talked about a bit.

Jeremy Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. I think from a skillset standpoint, it’s certainly still beneficial to have a strong technical aptitude and still have a strong technical interest. But I definitely think coming from a sales background, if you’re a good, strong salesperson, any strong salesperson has to be able to listen to what the customer’s needs are. Has to be able to empathize with customers. Has to understand the process they go through. How do they make purchases? How do they go about their business? What are the things that keep them up at night? And those are a lot of the same core questions that product management has to understand and has to really ask themselves. Just the tool set that we have to react to those are different, right?

Jeremy Johnson: We have more ability to shape the product, see where the product needs to go. We’re in a sales background, you’re trying to shape whatever I can sell today, principally to the customer to fit that need. But I think the basic questions still stand. And so that’s really one thing that I think is key. And I even take it a step further in a lot of respects where I think the best product managers are ones that can see not only the customer, but can also see challenges through the lens of all of the different components of the company. So you understand, support and what they do. You understand how things go through finance, you understand all of these things that really ultimately impact the overall customer journey.

Jeremy Johnson: And from a sales standpoint, you tend to get that visibility, right? You work through the contracting process, you understand how leads come in through marketing. You understand some of the back office things when you have a challenge to work through with the customer. So having a very holistic view of the company, how you work and how you interact with the customers in more of that broad, again, that broad customer journey, that’s a very, very strong asset for product managers to have.

RELATED: Strategies for Remote Engineering Teams

Sean Boyce: I’m glad you mentioned it in that way. I don’t hear it said as often as it probably should be. You’re absolutely right. I’ve always felt very similarly to, as you described where I think effective product managers need to know enough to be dangerous with all of those various functional areas, because it’s not just about the tech and it’s not just about the customer, right? We’re doing everything as a team. All of those roles are important and they all play a critical role in order to make sure that everything’s kind of going to plan, right? And we’re bringing a great product to market and we have happy customers and the process is working. So it’s important to take a vested interest in all of these things. And the other way I describe it from time to time too, there’s always 50 things to be done at any given point in time, it’s a matter of figuring out, what are those top things and making sure you’re spreading the love around a little bit to make sure that you’re not leaving anyone in your team, even if it’s not your immediate team in the dark.

Jeremy Johnson: Yeah. That’s absolutely right.

Sean Boyce: Awesome. Next thing I was going to ask you about, what you alluded to as part of that response as well too was kind of the product development process at Jama, right? So you have a team of product managers under you. Curious to learn more about from the perspective of ensuring that product management is being conducted effectively as your team grows and becomes more complex and then also as you have a product as complex as yours as well too, which is a lot of moving parts, a lot of intricacies to it, a lot of variables, all these types of things. There’s a lot to have to manage and that’s at an even more significant level than just being a sole product manager within a small software team. So if you could talk to us a little bit about what your product development process is like and how you ensure that, that’s conducted effectively at Jama, that would be awesome.

Jeremy Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. And we definitely do have, I would say, some unique challenges or some unique things that we manage through. And I think some of that is pretty consistent with what a B2B software company looks like. And particularly when you work with large enterprise customers, that adds a layer. What I would say is kind of the third layer for Jama Software is most of our companies are highly regulated, they’re focused on safety, automotive customers that are looking at functional safety of their designs, medical device companies that are looking at the safety and efficacy and FDA compliance and things like that. And so we have to have a very rigorous process in order to best align with those types of companies. And so we still maintain that agility. This is said a lot, but I think it’s important to reinforce that for us, agility is a mindset and a philosophy, it’s not a process.

Jeremy Johnson: And so we have to have a level of structure and rigor in our process to make sure that we go through certain gates in research, calculating return on investment, making sure that we have strong alignment with our customer requirements. Make sure that the way that we’re developing and delivering is not going to be disruptive from a change management standpoint. So we have this uniqueness of customers wanting us to move fast, but not too fast. So the way we really accomplish that or part of the way that we accomplish that is really looking at how we actually physically separate our teams and the way that we work in some cases. We have a portion of our team that’s focused on things that necessitate a quick response. From a true process standpoint, they’re Kanban, and they still have that agility.

RELATED: How to Realign Engineering Teams for Remote Work with Minimal Disruption

Jeremy Johnson: They’re taking feedback in either from a quality standpoint or a small enhancement standpoint. And they’re working very, very quickly to meet customer needs and in a very more typical agile way, I would say. Then we have a portion of our team that is focused on larger roadmap projects. And that’s really where we get into this level of rigor, where we have a fairly strong, structured process from a research standpoint, calculating the return on investment based on customer interest and the cost of that investment. We go through gates with the chief product officer and these get formally approved and put on the roadmap. And there’s various measurements and tracking very closely the progress on those projects. I would say for some people that would come into that environment, probably drive them crazy. And there’s a lot of rigor and a lot of things we watch. But again, because of this type of company, because of these type of customers, excuse me, it’s really necessary.

Jeremy Johnson: They expect that. They frankly have that level of rigor in their business. And we have to align as close as possible with the way they expect things. All the way down to our processes are actually ISO certified to the same standard that, for example, our automotive customers use for functional safety. So we’ve gone and gone through the process that’s audited regularly. We have a compliance department in our product development team that helps us and ensure alignment of our release process. So it’s tremendously rigorous compared to somebody that truly has that agility. Now, the balance though continues and particularly from my team is looking at continuing, how do we innovate? How do we find things that we can deliver to customers quickly? How can we adapt the product in that fairly rigorous environment? And so it does put an additional level of… pressure’s probably not the right word, but responsibility on the product management team.

Jeremy Johnson: And we’re also fortunate enough to have a specific group for user experience and product design. And in my opinion, frankly, even today in 2021, that’s still an underutilized and under-appreciated discipline within the overall product group and in particular, enterprise software. And we ask that team to really do a lot in their research, working with customers, helping simplify things when we introduce them, helping really map out how we can incrementally deliver something that can add tremendous value to the customer when it’s delivered in whole, but do it in such a way that it delivers incremental value and doesn’t have the same level of change management concerns that would really disrupt our customers. Because again, they’re simply highly sensitive to that.

Find out more about balancing agility and discipline in the product development process by listening to the full podcast here.

Download our eBook to learn about encouraging product development success with strategic team collaboration.


Product Development Success

Editors Note: This episode, Enabling Product Development Success with Josh Turpen, is part of the Innovation in Compliance podcast series and originally ran on The Compliance Network. Below you can find the recording and an abbreviated transcript of the podcast. 

Tom Fox: Hello, everyone, this is Tom Fox back for another episode and today, I have with me, Josh Turpen. Josh is with Jama Software, and he’s going to talk to us about the solution the company has developed and compliance from a little different perspective than we typically hear, but I think it’s going to resonate with my listeners, our listeners. They’re going to be your listeners as well.

Tom Fox: So with that incredibly long-winded introduction, first of all, Josh, welcome, and thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today.

Josh Turpen: Thank you, Tom. I very much appreciate you inviting me on.

Tom Fox: Josh, could you give us a little bit about your professional background?

Josh Turpen: Sure. My name’s Josh Turpen. I’m the Chief Product Officer here at Jama Software. I’ve been at Jama for about a year now, actually a year tomorrow, as a matter of fact.

My background is in enterprise software development. I’ve done that for a number of years, most recently at Cherwell software, led teams all over the world, Scotland, the US, Europe, Asia, pretty much everywhere where you can have development teams. Kind of much further back in my background and one of the things that really attracted me to Jama was my work in the Department of Defense and very heavily, both regulated and safety critical set of work that really, very early on in my career, made me understand and really drove home the importance of good requirements, good testing, and being able to wrap all that together.

Medical Device Risk Management

Tom Fox: I’d like to turn to medical device risk management. And many of my listeners come from a world where risk management is second nature, at least the phrase. They understand the risk management process, but you guys have, I think, a really unique way to help a company with that. So I was wondering if you could maybe introduce that topic, and we’ll go from there.

Josh Turpen: Sure. So one of the things that we look at when we’re working with a customer is, obviously, we work across a lot of different industries and bringing that expertise of what we learn across those industries to bear on… silly kind of example, but what we learned out of automotive, bringing that to medical device, what we learned on a medical device, bringing that to semi-conductor helps us give our customers a pretty well-rounded and a larger view on risk.

And one of the things that I think we do a good job with is making sure that we’re tying risk back to very discreet product requirements and tests so that we can validate, “This is what we said we were going to do. This is what the testing showed. These are gaps in there. And then, what are the risks that we need to resolve? What do we need to keep an eye on?” And then thinking about just the product development life cycle. When you change something, how does that impact both your requirement, your test, and your risk. So I think what we do is tie all that together to give a really good visibility to our customers.

RELATED: 3 Ways Products Became More Complex in the Last Five Years

Product Development Success Can’t Happen Without Proper Risk Management

Tom Fox: Josh, we’re going to move into advanced compliance and geek speak here. I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to talk with someone like yourself on the-

Josh Turpen: Be easy on me, Tom. I’m an engineer, so…

Tom Fox: … you talk about the risk management process, and you talk about how you have to continually evaluate risk because risk can change. So for instance, I think you gave you the example of a product update. Can risk change from the external environment as in the time we’re in now when we’re recording this in mid-August, from what a company’s risk was six months ago or nine months ago before COVID-19 health crisis, to the point we are now. Perhaps moving into 2021, it seems to me that the risk parameters may have changed, and it would really call for the need for another risk assessment to see if risks have either gone up or down.

Josh Turpen: I think that’s an excellent point, Tom. I think what we’re seeing right now is the rapid iteration of use cases in the market. You’re seeing it with drugs, you’re seeing it with medical devices, and you’re just seeing it with different environments that people are in. Things that you might’ve done in a in-patient, you might be doing outpatient. So I think, overall, re-evaluating risk with external events in mind is a good practice. And you’ve got to have a system that enables that because if you’re constantly re-evaluating risk in a manual or laborious process, you’re not going to do it. You’re going to end up punting.

Tom Fox: And that really brings me to the next point I wanted to visit with you about which is the problem or at least the differences between document-based solutions versus item-based, and I know you advocate item-based. So could you spend a little bit of time explaining that to the audience, how someone would think through it because it may be a very unique way for many compliance practitioners in my compliance space to think about this solution.

Josh Turpen: For sure. And it was unique to me when I came to Jama. I was born and bred in the old way of doing this where documents were passed back and forth. That eventually moved to Word and Excel and those kinds of things and even with some systems, but the basic difference is that instead of having a monolithic document that is the requirements, we look at requirements as discrete items that can be revved, can be commented on, can be tested against, can be evaluated from a risk perspective. And each one of those can be independent. And what that allows for is more focus. You can scope your reviews, both from a risk test and reviewer perspective, but it also gives you much more control over the relationship between entities in your system. So having a requirement with a set of tests associated with it, with a set of risks associated with it gives you that real easy traceability between one item tests and risks.

Collaboration is Key to Risk Management

Tom Fox: And how does Jama Connect help put this risk management plan into action?

Josh Turpen: Well, first off, it fosters the collaboration, I think, that’s necessary for good risk management. In a disconnected, distributed world, context is king. And we don’t have the ability to just run into somebody and strike up a conversation, so making sure that we’re capturing information in a low friction way is a big part of that. You would be amazed at the risks that we see identified just out of comments and conversations that are happening during reviews or discussions about items. So I think that’s one way that we do things a little bit differently and one of the benefits, like I said, of the item-based approach to risk management.

Tom Fox: Once again, because of the time we are in now and much of the work in every business is virtual now, I was wondering if you could share with us some thoughts on how you can optimize product development through team development. As an engineer, you probably deal with complexity a fair amount. Now we’ve added on another layer or another level of complexity which is the distance. I recognize you and I are doing this podcast remotely. How do you move towards true product development when your team members are literally, if not across the country, across the globe, and how can you manage that process?

Josh Turpen: That’s a really good question. I think there’s a lot of different strategies for it, but I always come back to making sure that your teams know why they’re building what they’re building and what they’re building. So in a pure software world that might be user stories, in a complex world that might be requirements linked to user stories, linked to reviews and risk and tests, but ultimately, having a repository or a method for engineers to see not only what they’re building, but the context around it and the why behind it helps decision-making.

Josh Turpen: I mean, people forget that engineering is a discipline of thousands of decisions that you’re making all the time. Do I write this code? Do I write that code? Do I build it this way? Do I build it that way? And it’s impossible to codify all of that into a single requirement. So you need to provide as much context as humanly possible to your engineering teams so that they can make those decisions and make more right decisions than wrong decisions.

Tom Fox: Many of my listeners are corporate compliance officers. They may be lawyers by professional training. That’s my background. The son of an engineer, so I have some understanding of what you’re talking about. But it strikes me that answering that why question, that’s viewed as a critical element to obtain buy-in from individuals. Does that hold true for engineers as well?

Josh Turpen: Well, interestingly enough, I am the son of an attorney. So we’ve got a flip flop. I think it absolutely holds true for engineers. It amazed me kind of progressing through my career, even all the way back to the DOD, the amount and weight of decisions that were entrusted to engineers every single day. If you really stop to think about it, you’re not going to sleep very well at night, but I think by providing that context, getting the engineers bought in on why this matters? Why is it so safety critical? Why do I need to pay attention to this and the tests and the risk and the ecosystem is absolutely critical to the success or failure of your product development effort, and it will help separate quickly the great engineers from the average or poor.

RELATED: Strategies for Remote Engineering Teams

Key Enablers for Product Development Success

Tom Fox: So what are some of the key enablers of product development success or utilizing a team to help develop a product?

Josh Turpen: I think one of the enablers is knowing what you want to build and being able to describe that, as pedantic as that sounds, is often incredibly difficult. So being able to describe what you want and then being able to communicate that out in such a way that it’s consumable by the teams that are actually building it.

Josh Turpen: If you go to a building analogy and all analogies break down over time, right? A lot of the ways that we build software is somebody designs a building and builds blueprints for it, and then they cut out sections of it and hand it to an engineer with no visibility to the larger blueprint. And so decisions are made based on that. And you can see the effect of that in late products, extended product cycles, extended revision cycles, potential recalls, safety problems. So I think one of the key enablers of success is that holistic picture that both your product engineering, compliance, QA, that everybody is bought in on and understands.

Tom Fox: Josh, I was very much intrigued or really wanted to ask you the following question because of your role at Jama Software and that’s management of the process. It occurs to me that you have to work in a managerial role and probably in addition to a hands-on role, but how do you… or what are some of the strategies you utilize or you found successful for the management of this process?

Josh Turpen: That’s a good question. Well, first off, hire good people that makes your job as a manager just so much easier. I’ve had good luck with that. I think second is be an enabler. My job, for the most part, is to set direction and then help my folks get there in any way that I can, whether they need a specific tool, they need more context, they need time with me to understand some of the strategy elements, whatever that happens to be. I think, too often, managers think of themselves as deciders and gatekeepers, and I look at it in the opposite way. I look at myself as an enabler and a cheerleader when things are going well and a coach when we need to course correct. So I think, for me, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned in my career is especially transitioning from engineering, it’s not what you do, it’s what you can help your team do.

RELATED: How to Realign Engineering Teams for Remote Work with Minimal Disruption

Tom Fox: Josh, one of the things that I found great to help me prepare for this podcast, but also really as a resource for your customers and clients are the amount of information on the Jama Software site. You’ve got a number of blogs, a lot of great technical information, a lot of great management information, and frankly, a lot of great, what I saw as, risk management information. And I wanted to maybe ask you about a couple of those which is number one, could you detail for us the product development life cycle management?

Josh Turpen: Sure. I appreciate you calling that out, Tom, because it’s one of the things… Jama’s been around for a while now, and we’ve done thousands of these implementations and conversations with customers. And I think it’s really one of our kind of hidden strengths is our depth of knowledge around how to do this and what’s important.

Josh Turpen: But, product development life cycle management is really that holistic picture of product from we have our initial idea of what we want to build all the way through deployment and feedback and making sure that you can connect that and that you can tie all of that together. I personally see from just my years of development, being able to see that whole process and have a window into how your teams are executing, what they’re executing on, what they’re doing well, what they’re not doing well, what the feedback mechanism is. And tying all that together is absolutely critical to an iterative development process that most of us are in.

Josh Turpen: People think that it’s just about doing the next thing, doing the next thing, but it’s much more about understanding where you’re coming from, what the feedback is, what the context of that feedback is, and then how you react to that. So when we talk about product development life cycle management, it’s really about that entire scope and making sure that you can see from end to end.

RELATED: Best Practices for Change Impact Analysis

Tom Fox: And then what are the three steps of a change impact analysis?

Josh Turpen: There’s several steps in a change impact analysis. I mean, to refer to the blog, identification of the sequence, determining whether the change is on the product’s critical path, estimate the impact of the proposed change on schedule and cost, evaluate the change’s priority, and then report on the impact analysis to all the stakeholders.

So I think it’s a pretty normal motion for anybody who’s in this business, and it’s easy to forget all of the steps that go into it. But I think thinking about that and what that looks like and what your process needs to be is an important part of product development. Making sure others know the impact of requested changes helps to prioritize the requested changes, obviously, but also helps to align the business and development on this change is valuable or, “Hey, this was just an idea. Now that we understand what the impact is, we might go a different direction.” So I think that’s a good kind of loop back for the product teams and the business, in general.

Download our eBook to learn about encouraging product development success with strategic team collaboration.


Manage Complexities

Companies with globally dispersed teams, complex products, and expanding product lines require a modern, centralized system to manage requirements. Jama Connect is giving Monolithic Power Systems (MPS) newfound efficiencies to manage complexities in product development by simplifying their requirements and change management processes and improving collaboration and visibility across distributed teams.

In this blog post, we take a look at MPS’ top challenges in semiconductor development and why they selected Jama Connect to help.

Managing Complexities Across Geographies with Scalability and Efficiency

Producing the highest quality power solutions for industrial applications is no simple undertaking. Like many other organizations tackling complex projects, MPS’ Automotive and Battery Management groups were facing critical business challenges that Jama Connect is helping them address.

1. Adapting to Increasing Complexities

One of the key issues MPS faced was their ability to address the challenges of developing increasingly complex product tiers. The rapid expansion into new high-value markets called for a matching evolution of the internal requirements and documentation management processes.

At MPS, systems engineers, digital designers, and technical marketing engineers all need the ability to collaborate and exchange massive amounts of information both upstream and downstream using a complex register map. As semiconductor design continues to increase in complexity, the use of traditional documents to accomplish this had become more challenging for the MPS team. The current system in place for revision controls wasn’t functioning well for them; it needed to be synchronized, clearly organized, and scalable.

RELATED: How to Realign Engineering Teams for Remote Work with Minimal Disruption

2. Managing Documentation While Keeping Pace With Emerging Technologies

Each of MPS’ distributed teams is focused on a different stage of the constant research and development (R&D) needed for emerging technologies. In today’s rapidly changing environment, market requirements are constantly evolving, which drives the need for even tighter collaboration between teams. When the sustained growth of the MPS portfolio was also considered, it became evident that a new solution was needed, which would offer increased cross-team visibility over requirements, design reviews, and test results.

3. Collaborating Effectively Across Distributed Teams

When companies are developing complex products, the size of their team grows accordingly, but growth is as efficient as the infrastructure in place to support it. For MPS, that meant moving from an approach where most of the R&D activity was geographically localized in one area to a more de-centralized model with centers located in the United States, Asia and Europe. The challenge of engineering teams working across multiple time zones emphasized the need for a solution that enabled all the contributors to collaborate seamlessly on a project regardless of their physical location.

4. Proving Products Meet Industry Standards and Compliance

Another core challenge that MPS faced was having a system that both enables requirements management tracking and helps demonstrate that functional safety standards and industry regulations have been met. Jama Software is the first SaaS and Agile vendor to be ISO 26262 fit-for-purpose certified by TÜV SÜD.

RELATED: ISO 26262 Compliant vs. ISO 26262 Certified

Complex Information Management and Exchange with Clarity and Efficiency

After implementing Jama Connect, MPS has been able to solve its collaboration challenge, provide a real-time cross-team visibility and engagement, and prove compliance. Jama Connect is helping MPS make an impact in these significant areas:

  1. The Jama Connect platform allows for structured collaboration and information to be accessed seamlessly across globally distributed teams
  2. MPS now has a single source of information and end-to-end visibility throughout the product development lifecycle
  3. Jama Connect is making the path for teams to prove regulatory compliance easier

Jama Connect has helped MPS manage complexities in the development cycle by delivering a structured collaboration platform that allows their engineers to access information seamlessly across teams. To see the incredible results, you’ll have to read the full customer story.

Read the full customer story to see how Jama Connect helps industry leader MPS manage complexities across globally-distributed teams.


product development

It’s a given that the only constant is change — and in product development, change is vital. In fact, in some sense, product development depends on change through creative destruction. Without a focus on innovation and continuous improvement, products stagnate and companies go out of business.

But one change that is not always beneficial to the product development process is movement of human resources. In a volatile and uncertain business environment, human resources change constantly, which means that knowledge moves from team to team, company to company. In addition, as the workforce ages, many companies experience a loss both formal and informal knowledge that is hard to quantify. How can companies safeguard both formal and informal knowledge as talent moves around and workers retire?

The Human Factor

Every day, approximately 10,000 people in the US turn 65 — the “standard” age of retirement. While not everyone who turns 65 retires immediately, thousands of experienced employees leave the workforce every year, taking a wealth of knowledge with them into retirement. Though these workers may willingly pass on their knowledge, a lack of systems or processes for gathering that knowledge — especially informal knowledge — means that much of it is lost forever.

One complicating factor in passing down knowledge is that the next generation poised for leadership — Generation X — is significantly smaller than the Baby Boomer generation. While knowledge has historically been passed organically between generations as a younger generation rises up to gradually take the place of the older one, the small size of GenX means an inevitable gap between Boomers and GenX.

Finally, both GenX and Millennials, who comprise about 35% of the US workforce, value workplace flexibility over stability. Those younger employees may capture the knowledge of one Baby Boomer predecessor, but that knowledge could end up fragmented across many different companies or teams.

It’s difficult to know exactly what knowledge any single employee will possess until that employee is gone. This isn’t to say that employees want to hide or obfuscate information — they simply have informal knowledge that isn’t easily captured by existing processes. Leaders have historically tried a variety of ways to capture knowledge, but in the digital era, training and transition reports aren’t enough. Companies need technology tools that will help capture knowledge and make it easily accessible for future use.

RELATED POST: 6 Things Organizations Overlook About Digital Transformation

Knowledge Capture in the Age of Digital Transformation

As part of the digital transformation in product development, leaders need to use appropriate technologies that help teams and organizations adapt and thrive in an environment of constant change. To that end, software solutions that capture the formal and informal knowledge of every employee can be key to future-proofing the product development process.

In order to effectively capture knowledge across the product development lifecycle from all team members, any digital solution should:

Enable comprehensive collaboration: Anyone can create an Excel or Word file and put it on a shared drive. The problem is that such documents can get overridden or forgotten, and the information they contain may not be comprehensive or robust enough to pass knowledge to the entire team. A genuinely comprehensive solution will give employees a single source to track decisions, questions, and problems.

Improve efficiency: With a single source for information, teams can reduce design inconsistencies and discrepancies. In this way, teams capture knowledge without even realizing it as team members can offer input, solutions, and answers in a way that codifies knowledge in a single place.

Integrate with other digital tools: Product development does not rely on a single digital tool. For real digital transformation of product development, tools should be integrated across the process and lifecycle. By integrating the tools that help trace and track development with other digital solutions, team knowledge is captured at multiple levels and in multiple places, streamlining future projects.

Merging Talent and Technology

Ultimately, the most important part of digital transformation in product development is talent, not technology. Fostering an environment that encourages learning, curiosity, and teamwork will offer the greatest benefits in knowledge preservation. But in a digital age, companies need to merge talent with technology to capture both formal and informal knowledge before key people retire or move on to other endeavors. Digital tools are a key ingredient in future-proofing product development.

Jama Connect can help you capture the knowledge of your best and brightest product development professionals.

Have confidence that you’re selecting the right requirements management solution by downloading our checklist for essential features and functionality.


product and systems development

2020 has been a year that’s been described as “unprecedented” and “unparalleled” – as well as other descriptors probably best left out of our blog. As we close out this year, it’s hard to say what awaits us in the new one. One thing that we can be sure of is that innovation in medicine, science, and technology shows no sign of slowing down.

As we enter a new year of technological advancements, Jama Software asked select thought leaders – both internal and external – across various industries for the trends and events they foresee unfolding over the next year and beyond.

In the final part of our four-part series, we ask Josh Turpen, Chief Product Officer at Jama Software, to weigh in on product and systems development trends he’s anticipating for engineering teams in 2021. You can also go back and read Part I, Part II, and Part III of our 2021 predictions series, which focus on predictions for medical device, airborne systems, and automotive development (respectively).

What product, systems, and software development trends are you expecting to take shape in 2021? 
Josh Turpen:

I think 2021 is when investments in Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) will start to pay off. We’ve seen an increase in capabilities building to the point that material work can be done using these technologies. Supply the right data and real insights can be delivered.  

In terms of product and systems development, what do you think will remain the same over the next decade? What will change? 
Josh Turpen:

The Digital Thread will continue to be a focus for systems engineers. Connecting disparate data streams into a cohesive view of product development remains a critical, if elusive, goal.   

With more investment in product development more rigor will come. Connecting development efforts to value, reducing product delivery risk and ensuring that budget holders “get what they paid for” will become a prime responsibility for development teams. 

RELATED: What is the Definition of a Digital Thread?

What sorts of process adjustments do you think development teams will need to make to be successful in 2021?  
Josh Turpen:

Focus on systems and processes that deliver value and don’t be afraid to jettison or modify those that don’t. We’ve all been told there’s a “way to do it” and we all read the blogs that claim success with a methodology. Don’t ignore the anecdotes but focus instead on what works for your development and never lose sight of delivering a valuable product.  

What do you think will be some of the differentiators between a company surviving to see 2030, and those that do not? 
Josh Turpen:

Companies that are not focused on product development at scale are in trouble. Their competitors are. 

Where do you see Jama Software fitting in as the product development landscape evolves, and what can our customers expect as 2021 approaches?  
Josh Turpen:

The definition of value, and the verification that the product delivers that value, are where Jama Software will continue to focus. We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon for variant management, test validation, and ML/NLP that I’m excited to get into the hands of our customers.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add about the future of complex product and systems development in the upcoming year and beyond?  
Josh Turpen:

I’m consistently impressed with what our customers are doing. From launching rockets to saving lives it is an exciting time to be in complex product development. I can’t wait to see what customers will build next with Jama Connect! 

Thanks for tuning into our 2021 Predictions Series! To see some of the incredible things our customers are building with Jama Connect, visit our Customer Stories page.