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The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development Hardcover – 29 May 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Celeritas Publishing; 1 edition (29 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935401009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935401001
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

For 30 years, Don Reinertsen has been a thought leader in the field of product development. In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he wrote the landmark article in Electronic Business magazine that first quantified the financial value of development speed. In 1985, he coined the term Fuzzy Front End to describe the earliest stage of product development. In 1991, he wrote the first article showing how queueing theory could be practically applied to product development.

His 1991 book, Developing Products in Half the Time, coauthored with Preston Smith, is a product development classic. His 1997 book, Managing the Design Factory, was the first book to describe how the principles of Just-in-Time manufacturing could be applied to product development. In the 12 years since this book appeared, this approach has become known as lean product development. For 15 years, Don taught executive courses on product development at California Institute of Technology. He currently teaches public seminars throughout the world.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Principles of Product Development Flow is a reference book targeted at line managers and project managers. While the book is targeted at product development, most managers can benefit greatly from a reference like this, if they use it. This is a book to carry with you, or at least have handy while at work.

Most management books cover only a few ideas and often at too high a level to be useful in day-to-day work. Flow is different. It covers a lot of ground, more than 150 management principles divided into eight areas. As you can imagine, with this much ground to cover, the prose is terse, to the point, and action oriented.

Flow is not a book for everyone, but if you are serious about management, you should have a copy, and study it carefully.

Flow begins by establishing why a new approach to management is necessary. There are plenty of problems with the most common approaches to management today. Reinertsen discusses them thoughtfully. He approaches management from an economic angle, so it is natural that the first area covered is product development economics. From there, Reinertsen moves on to cover most aspects of product development flow:

* Queues, and the economics of queues
* Variability
* Batch sizing
* Work-In-Process constraints
* Cadence, synchronization and flow control
* The importance of fast feedback loops
* Centralization and Decentralization of control

Flow focuses to a large extent on the technical side of management. Such skills are absolutely necessary for a good manager to have, but they are rarely taught. I recommend The Principles of Product Development Flow to any manager who wishes to increase her understanding of management, and build a practical toolkit for performing it.
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Format: Hardcover
Don's book is excellent. It's not nearly as easy to read as his classic Managing the Design Factor but, provided you read that book first, then this book will take you to the next level. FLOW is a rich book, densely packed, with 100s of well written, usable and useful ideas. Think of it as a big menu neatly divided into several sections, each dedicated to getting your new products out the door sooner, reducing your stress levels, and making your business more money.

Here's the short version:
- figure out how your projects make money;
- figure out how much it costs when those projects are delayed;
- if the cost of delay is a lot of money then read the rest of the book, starting with the chapters on queuing and batch sizes.

(If the cost of delay isn't significant then you're probably in the wrong business.)
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Format: Hardcover
What do traffic jams, the internet and warfare have in common? The answer is that they all contains ideas to improve product development. In this tightly-packed recipe book Reinertsen draws on his years of observing how companies develop products and guides the reader into identifying the subtle 'system level' processes that are occurring: queues, WIP constraints, batch size problems and more. He then looks at disciplines that have optimised these areas and shows how those solutions can be used to improve your own process.

In illustrating these processes, what is surprising, and counter-intuitive is how unreliable common-sense can be. For example, running your department close to capacity can cost more than running it at 70& - 80% loading. Or take WIP. It's easy to see that material that is paid for and sitting in the factory is a 'bad thing'. Reinertsen shows that we have Design-in-Process (DIP) that is invisible but just as expensive. Does your company have product software features that are completed and waiting for the next release in six months time? Shorten that release cycle to three months and start getting revenue sooner.

Having read all of Reinertsen's books, I have been putting his ideas into practice over the last ten years. I'm pleased to see that in that time, his thinking has been consistent: make you decisions based on economics, but make sure you're controlling the right thing. So if you've ever wondered why slowing traffic speed on highways can make journey times shorter, buy this book and find out - and make your product development times shorter too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book as part of an agile book club - we all read a book per month and then meet up to share our perspectives on the book chosen.

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.
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