A usually derogatory
term used to describe the dynamic design
of a product
on paper. A product's lifecycle normally starts off in a Marketing Requirements Document
) and/or a Product Requirements Document
). The initial intention is always noble--follow the process. The process begins with a definition of what the marketing team believes the customer wants. Hopefully, this document is passed to the engineering team for review. The engineering team responds with their reaction to each requirement. This could be anything from a yes or no to a "this doesn't make sense in this kind of product." An example of a feature that might not make sense is adding Internet connectivity to a clothes washing machine (said thoroughly tongue in cheek
All is good so far. The process is being followed. The marketing team feels like the engineering team can deliver a product the market will want. The engineering team has bought into the product features and schedule. Things begin to go astray when marketing develops a PowerPoint presentation (it could be any presentation software, but Microsoft's PowerPoint is the most popular). The presentation is usually created for the purposes of announcing the product to and discussing the product with potential customers. This is when PowerPoint engineering comes into play.
The customer sees the feature list and exclaims its virtues. Inevitably, they say it's great except for one or two missing buzzwords. Customer A would buy thousands if it only supported embedded googlie gup. Customer B would also buy thousand as long as no embedded googlie gup existed and XCA was supported. Marketing tells both customers that they'll add it to the product. This generates a corresponding edit to the PowerPoint slide(s) describing the product. Two bullets are added: 1) Selectable/optional embedded googlie gup, and 2) Fully XCA compliant.
Engineering finds out about the changes to the product definition, usually indirectly, and begins the informal and chaotic process of changing the product definition and the associated schedule. Marketing wants to hold engineering to the same schedule. Engineering counters that keeping the same schedule is impossible because adding embedded googlie gup requires another three months of development and testing. Engineering can't even begin to assess the schedule damage of being fully XCA compliant because they haven't fully comprehended what it means to be fully XCA compliant. This causes resentment between marketing and engineering and a general decline in morale as those on the project feel the schedule is unrealistic.