Revolutionizing Product Development


Quantum Leaps in Speed, Efficiency, and Quality


Comprehensive book covering the entire subject of product development. Written in the early 90’s but still applicable. A seminal work. Reads much easier than a textbook, but each chapter stands-alone and thus each subject can be easily referenced on its own.


30 second summary


Sort of impossible to summarize the product development process in 30 seconds. This book covers a lot of it. It’s comprehensive. A good overall guide.


2 more minutes of summary


See above. This book has a lot of content on product development. See below for an overview of each chapter.


Chapter Breakdown

Ch. 1: Competing through Development Capability

Ch. 2: Concept of a Development Strategy

Ch. 3: Maps and Mapping: Functional Strategies in Pre-Project Planning

Ch. 4: The Aggregate Project Plan

Ch. 5: Structuring the Development

Ch. 6: A Framework for Development

Ch. 7: Cross-Functional Alignment

Ch. 8: Organizing and Leading Project Teams

Ch. 9: Tools and Methods

Ch. 10: Prototype/Test Methods

Ch. 11: Learning from Development Projects

Ch. 12: Building Development Capability

 

Ch. 1: Competing through Development Capability

“Firms that get to market faster and more efficiently with products that are well matched to the needs and expectations of target customers create significant competitive leverage.”

Ch. 2: Concept of a Development Strategy

“The potential benefits of effective development efforts are of three types – market position, resource utilization, and organizational renewal and enhancement.”

Ch. 3: Maps and Mapping: Functional Strategies in Pre-Project Planning

“Effective managers lay the foundation for a successful development project long before the project begins…What is needed is an understanding of where the business is going, what the functions are going to do to get it there, and how this project fits into that picture.”

“Mapping has a clear objective: capture the driving forces for the business and the functions, an d portray their implications for competition graphically…The very puppose of a map is to give managers a way to see the evolution of critical dimensions in the market, the technology and the manufacturing processes.

Ch. 4: The Aggregate Project Plan

“For management, this [set of development efforts] involves deciding on the set of projects to be added to the “active list,” how those projects are to be scoped and defined (and their objectives), when those projects are to be started and completed, what resources will be allocated to them in what time periods, and how they will accomplish, collectively, the firm’s strategy.”

“An aggregate project plan lays out the specific development projects a firm will undertake over the relevant planning horizon.”

Ch. 5: Structuring the Development

“…The development funnel provides a graphic structure for thinking about the generation and screening of alternative development options, and combining a subset of these into a product concept. A variety of different product and process ideas enter the funnel for investigation, but only a fraction become part of a full-fledged development project.”

“The nature of the funnel is defined by the way the organization identifies, screens, reviews, and converges on the content of a development project as it moves from idea to reality.”

A funnel is described as having three dimensions:

  1. “It’s process for creating development projects – encouraging certain sources of new ideas and selecting which of those to support in development projects.”
  2. “Its means of achieving convergence to a focused product concept and detailed design – through a set of decision-making, review, and control procedures during project execution.”
  3. “Its final commitment to the market through final testing, screening, and market introduction plans.”

Ch. 6: A framework for Development

“New products and processes come to the market through a process that first transforms ideas and concepts into working prototypes through detailed design and engineering, then tests and refines them, and finally prepares the product design and factories for commercial operation.”

Framework:

  1. Project definition
  2. Project organization and staffing
  3. Project management and leadership
  4. Problem solving, testing, and prototyping
  5. Senior management review and control
  6. Real-time/midcourse corrections

There are many approaches to this framework taken by many companies, but commonalities exist between all effective development methodologies:

  • Customer focus
  • Discipline (having clear phases, procedures, and rules)
  • Coherence in detail (a large complex cross-functional group can align in time and objective)
  • Fit with the Mission
  • Sharing the Pattern (there is a clear process for development that becomes a pattern)

Ch. 7: Cross-Functional Alignment

“Outstanding development requires effecrive action from all of the major functions in the business. From engineering, one needs good designs…; from marketing, thoughtful product positioning…; from manufacturing, capable processes…. Great products and processes are achieved when all of these functional activities fit well together… Outstanding development requires integration across the functions.”

Ch. 8: Organizing and Leading Project Teams

“Effective product and process development requires both that all of the organizational groups involved develop and bring to bear the appropriate specialized capabilities, and that the efforts of all of these groups be appropriately integrated.”

Ch. 9: Tools and Methods

“…in the final analysis, when we search for an understanding of truly outstanding development, we must eventually get down to the working level where individual designers, marketers, and engineers work togerher to make detailed decisions and solve specific problems. The magin in an outstanding product or a superior process is in the details. Thus, detailed problem solving is at the core of outstanding development.”

Key tools covered:

  • “Design-Build-Test” cycle
  • Quality Function Deployment
  • Design for Manufacturability
  • Computer-aided tools (Product Life-cycle software, outdated)

Ch. 10: Prototype/Test Methods

“It is that prototyping – the build and test activities of each design-build test cycle – is a key management tool for guiding development projects. It is not just a technical tool…managers can use prototyping cycles to guide and pace development projects and to assess their progress, pinpoint unresolved issues, and focus resources and attention.”

Ch. 11: Learning from Development Projects

“The ability to sustain significant improvements in development over long periods of time rests on the capability to learn from experience.”

Five dimensions

  • “Recurring problems linked to critical performance dimensions.”
  • “Crucial individual activities/tasks and associated capabilities”
  • “Working-level linkages”
  • “Design-build-test” cycles
  • “Processes for making decisions and allocating resources.”

Ch. 12: Building Development Capability

“…no matter the position of the firm…the ability to build development capability at a rapid rate is crucial to long-term competitive success.”