Function Analysis Process
Function analysis is a process that describes the functions of a product (or process) and then establishes their relationships, their characterization, classification and evaluation. A function model is drawn to present the results of the analysis and provide a common understanding of the situation.
The functions are the end purposes of the product. They are independent of the solutions chosen to accomplish them. Functions are of 2 types: user-related (service functions) aimed at satisfying the user’s needs or product-related (technical functions) that ensure that the product works and performs well.
All the professionals concerned with the product at each stage of its life cycle will be called upon to participate. They have the necessary skills and experience in finding the functions of the product. Function analysis is a powerful means of inducing order and clarification. It improves the dialog within the VM team as well as between the clients and suppliers.
User-related functions cost analysis make it possible to examine whether they correspond to the importance of the functions for the user. It facilitates the dialog between marketing and the development team and it is indispensable for management for trade-offs and decisions.
The Functional Performance Specification
A Functional Performance Specification is a document by which an enquirer expresses his needs in terms of functions and constraints. For each of these, evaluation criteria are defined each with their level and flexibility.
In such a document there is no reference to the technical solutions. This allows the enquirer to obtain the most efficient product, the most advantageous to him. It also stimulates the supplier to optimize the product and find the best proposal. (This implies that the flexibilities are indicated.)
Constituent Elements of a FPS:
a) General presentation of the problem: this includes the general concept, indications on the market, context of the project and objectives, environment and constraints.
b) Functional expression of needs: this is the result of the functional analysis, functions, appreciation criteria, levels of the criteria and flexibility with a reference to the cost.
c) Call for variants: suggestions that the supplier can make to stimulate innovation and explore ambitious and realistic solutions.
d) Framework of answers: in order to facilitate the examination of multiple offers. The suppliers must use the same functional presentation describing the needs to present his solutions.
The degree of precision of a FPS may vary according to the current phase of the product creation. Thus, the FPS may evolve. Versions need to be tracked accordingly. A FPS can be used internally with a team of people having the necessary competence to formalize the needs and to develop the solution. It can also be used externally to get a specialized supplier to answer the needs.
Reference: European Committee for Standardization Document EN 12973
To Learn More: Functional Performance Specification Summary