Developing Products In Half The Time


New Rules, New Tools

by Preston G. Smith and Donald G. Reinersten


30 second summary


Reinertsen is someone you’ll find referenced in many product development books. He coined the term “fuzzy front end” and is one of the key figures in the Lean school of product development. This book isn’t comprehensive of the entire development process, but does contain some key nuggets on how to go faster: incremental innovation, process design, prototyping, etc. Fairly easy to reference and something of a hybrid between a normal book and a textbook (lots of figures and charts, short written sections, lot’s of somewhat dated case studies).


2 more minutes of summary



I’ve highlighted in blue what I think are the best chapters.

Chapter 1 – Faster and Faster Still

Why go faster?…

Chapter 2 – Putting a Price Tag on time

Time needs to be put into the units of dollars…

Chapter 3 – The Fuzzy Front End

What is the fuzzy front end and why it deserves attention…

Chapter 4 – The Power and Pitfalls of Incremental Innovation

You guessed it, incremental innovation…


Chapter 5 – Capturing Customer Needs

Pretty f’ing obvious – good 15 min read on needs…

Chapter 6 – Using System Design to Compress Schedules

Product architecture discussion…

Chapter 7 – Forming and Energizing the Team

More management lessons than product development…

Chapter 8 – Organizing for communication

Again, mostly org stuff……


Chapter 9 – Designing Fast Development Processes

Juicy chapter, good stuff….

Chapter 10 – Controlling the Process

More good nuggets on development best practices

Chapter 11 – Preventing Overloads

Stuff like “don’t give engineers too many projects…

Chapter 12 – Managing Risk Proactively

Meh. Risk stuff……


Chapter 13 – Bridging the R&D Manufacturing Gap

Put a manufacturing person on the product team…

Chapter 14 – The Role of Top Management

Not much new; clarify, facilitate, empower…

Chapter 15 – Making Changes Faster

More good nuggets about implementing change in an organization…