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The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development Hardcover – 29 May 2009
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From the Inside Flap
..the dominant paradigm for managing product development is wrong. Not just a little wrong, but wrong to its very core. Today's product development orthodoxy is broken. What's wrong? Companies are pursuing the wrong goals. They maximize capacity utilization, and wonder why cycle times are so long. They strive to conform to plan, and wonder why new obstacles constantly emerge. They try to eliminate variability, and wonder why innovation disappears. They carefully break processes into phases and gates, and wonder why things slow down instead of speeding up. Ironically, each of these actions actually hurts more than it helps.We need a different approach, one based on solid economics and real science. The heart of this approach is FLOW, and the enemy of flow is the invisible and unmeasured queues that undermine all aspects of product development performance. Stagnant piles of idle work lengthen cycle time. At the same time, they delay vital feedback and destroy process efficiency. Yet today, these queues remain unmanaged. Ninety-eight percent of product developers neither measure nor control their queues.But, how can we manage these queues and achieve real flow? It takes a bit of science. We can start with the ideas of lean manufacturing. Then, we must recognize the vast difference between the stable world of repetitive manufacturing and the high-variability world of product development. A product development process must thrive in the presence of variability. Ultimately, we must reach even further, drawing upon ideas from the Internet, transportation systems, computer operating systems, and military doctrine. This is the first book that comprehensively describes the underlying principles that create flow in product development processes, principles that have produced 5x to 10x improvements, even in mature processes. It combines a lucid explanation of the real science behind flow and a rich set of practical methods.Its underlying principles are organized into eight major areas, focusing on practical methods to: Improve economic decisions Manage queues Reduce batch size Apply WIP constraints Accelerate feedback Manage flows in the presence of variability Decentralize control Nobody is better suited to explain these ideas than Don Reinertsen. In 1997, his landmark book, Managing the Design Factory, first introduced the ideas that have become known as lean product development. His two previous books, Developing Products in Half the Time and Managing the Design Factory, have become required reading for all product developers. For over 25 years he has been recognized as a leading thinker on product development issues.This book begins where other books on product development end. It is guaranteed to change the way you think about product development. The Principles of Product Development Flow is destined to become another product development classic.
From the Back Cover
The dominant paradigm for managing product development is wrong; not just a little wrong, but wrong to its very core. Stagnant piles of idle work lengthen cycle time, delay vital feedback and destroy process efficiency. Yet today, these queues remain unmanaged. This landmark book defines a new approach, one based on solid economics and real science. It focuses on controlling the invisible and unmeasured queues that undermine all aspects of product development performance. This is the first book that comprehensively describes the underlying principles that create flow in product development processes, principles that have produced 5 to 10 times improvements, even in mature processes. It combines a detailed explanation of the real science behind flow and a rich set of practical methods. Its 175 underlying principles are organized into eight major areas. It begins where other books on product development end, and is guaranteed to change the way you think about product development.See all Product description
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However, I found it pretty heavy going. Also I have quite a lot of Agile, Scaled Agile and Program Management experience. (I bought this and several other books to review practices and theories prior to designing training and deployment of Agile to a global team). Whilst I found the theory from this book to be correct, in my experience the models are over-simplistic and cannot be used in real world effectively.
I did find it a challenge to read, and many parts I had to read twice or more. Had it not been for the group I may have struggled to finish it. There is quite a lot of mathematics in it, which can be difficult for some.
However, the book conveys some very good ideas. The economics give you a common value for making choices between different product development options. The parts on design in process inventory, cost of delay and life cycle profits will help our agile teams to give the best value to the customer.
I really appreciated the differentiation made throughout the book between manufacturing (the basis of a lot of lean thinking) and product development, which has variability, is non repetitive and non-homogeneous.
The chapters on managing queues, exploiting variability, reduced batch size, fast feedback and decentralised control were really informative.
I am really pleased that I have read this book. At times I struggled, but the journey was worth it. I will keep this book on my desk and refer to it often.
We all "know" that short releases cycles, quick feedback, prioritised feature sets etc all make sense but do we all know why that is the case? We all "know" how to manage full queues but do we all know that alternatives exists and that they could perhaps help with managing the flow of the delivery stream even better? What about critical chain project management? Why does it work? How about Theory of Constraints? Is it as good as some people think? This book covers it all. Everything you wanted to know about, well, product development flow but were afraid to ask.
Or come back to it to read the principles when it's necessary. I didn't like the writing style at all, the lack of examples. He always states the problems, but doesn't give solutions.