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    What does the acronym APO stand for in regards to an IPT (Integrated Product Team)? What policies/guidelines/regulations support or ensure the process are followed correctly in regards to Army standards? What is the complete process of selecting an APO from beginning to end and then the process behind the APO then selecting his/her IPT? I know it was covered thoroughly in a DAU course I once before but I have taken so many I do not recall. If you can kindly point me in the right direction or advise on the proper references, I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you kindly.


    Answer

    APO stands for ARDEC Project Officer.  Simply translated, this is a project officer from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.  In general, the choice of an IPT lead should be guided by three primary factors: availability, subject matter expertise and experience, and leadership experience.
    Availability – is the prospective IPT leader sufficiently available to lead the team? IPT leadership done well takes time.  If leading the IPT will not be his or her primary duty, you may want to consider another candidate.
    Subject matter expertise and experience – does the prospective IPT leader know the subject of the IPT well enough to lead the team?  IPTs may require the extensive knowledge and/or experience in a subject.  If the candidate does not have the requisite knowledge, you may want to consider someone else.
    Leadership expertise and experience – does the prospective IPT leader have the experience to lead the team?  The number of IPT members, the complexity of the task, and the stakeholders involved with are a few of the factors that may make leading the IPT more challenging.  If the candidate does not have enough experience, you may want to consider another candidate.
    There are other considerations, of course (e.g., the rank of the team members) and there may be a need for tradeoffs (e.g., is this a good stretch goal for a less experienced leader?).  The three factors are a minimum set to consider in selecting an IPT leader.
    The following guidebooks are useful in setting up an IPT, including selecting its members and leader:
    DoD Integrated Product and Process Development Handbook (August 1998) – Chapter 3 addresses the teal leader and team member selection.
    Mitre Integrated Project Team (IPT) Start-up Guide (October 2008) – Section 3 addresses IPT leadership selection.


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