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  1. Must Changing Priorities Always Hurt? Locked

    Research | Posted: 2007-02-02

    By Don Reinertsen, Reinertsen & Associates “Almost every product developer confronts the challenge of changing priorities,” observes product development expert Don Reinertsen. “Some of these priority shifts are warranted, but others are quite unnecessary.” In this article, Reinertsen posits that unnecessary shifts in priorities occur for two major reasons. One reason has to do with how priorities are established and how they are communicated throughout the broader organization. When priorities are grounded upon a foundation of mere personal preference they are more likely to shift. The other major cause of unnecessary changes in priorities is grounded in the development process itself. “Just as the way we operate a factory makes it more or less responsive to shifts in demand, the way we operate a development process can increase the likelihood of priority shifts,” writes Reinertsen. He provides a brief discussion of each of these two issues and suggests high-level solutions to both challenges. (3 pages)

  2. Using Queuing Theory and Smaller Batch Sizes to Reduce Cycle Time Locked

    Research | Posted: 2007-01-12

    A presentation by Jeff H. Coult, Senior Technical Manager, Honeywell AerospaceThis presentation examines two examples of the application of Lean principles to product development at Honeywell Aerospace. When faced with a bottleneck in its CAD group, Honeywell Aerospace discovered that there was little to be gained through improving its process – the issue was the queue going into the CAD group. To understand the problem more fully, the group examined a few key programs and estimated the lost sales opportunity created by the large queue – one of which amounted to about $1.5 million per month. Says Honeywell’s Jeff Coult, “The lost opportunity for that one program was enough to justify the added cost of bringing in contract help to work down the queue.” Honeywell Aerospace eventually added one full-time person to the CAD group and developed relationships with contract houses to provide temporary help as needed. The result was the elimination of the queue, the stabilization of the workload and an increase in customer satisfaction. The second example from Honeywell Aerospace addressed the concept of small batch sizes. By divided up its qualification testing into smaller “batches,” and performing these smaller test batches earlier in the process, the company was able to shave two weeks off of the qualification testing cycle. (11 Pages)

  3. Using External Resources to Eliminate Product Development Queues Locked

    Research | Posted: 2007-01-04

    By Don Reinertsen, Reinertsen and Associates Experienced product developers realize that there is a heavy price to be paid for operating a development organization at 100 percent utilization. Unless we could perfectly predict the work content of design tasks, when these tasks arrive, and the productivity of our individual development workers, such high levels of loading will cause queues in product development. Internal capacity is only one of a variety of paths to increase the capacity of the development organization. External capacity is a powerful alternative. However, using external capacity to support product development can be a little trickier than it first appears. In this commentary, Don Reinertsen discusses one of the common pitfalls of managing external capacity – the tactic known as “peak-shaving” – and how to avoid it. (3 pages)

  4. Lean Product Development The Toyota Way: A Conversation with Michael Kennedy Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-12-21

    In this December 2006 interview, Michael Kennedy, author of Product Development for the Lean Enterprise discusses the four cornerstones of the Toyota product development system. Kennedy describes how Toyota creates world-class cars without a formal development process, without administrative program managers, and without schedule slips. The key, says Kennedy, is in a process that emphasizes learning first. Toyota continually prototypes and tests to probe the limits of a given technology and the design tradeoffs associated with it. These tradeoffs, visually displayed inthe formof “limit curves,” become the basis of decision-making at Toyota. Toyota Chief Engineers, the internal representative for the customer, are the decision-makers with respect to a given product. They are not administrators, but subject matter experts. Toyota also has a simple but effective way of managing knowledge that maximizes reuse and allows engineers to avoid reinventing the wheel. According to Kennedy: “Toyota has been effectively developing knowledge for next year’s Camry for over twenty years. Product development must be thought of as the long-term, targeted development of product knowledge.” (6 pages)

  5. Lean Project Portfolios Audio Session MP3 Download Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-10-13

    MP3 download of Lean Project Portfolios Audio Session

  6. Lean Product Development Summit: Early Successes Encourage Future Applications Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-07-17

    This report provides an overview of a June 2006 conference on Lean product development. It summarizes presentations from product development practitionersfrom Hewlett-Packard, Isothermal Systems Research, Cessna Aircraft, and Honeywell Aerospace. These summaries present the challenges each company was facing, the Lean principles applied, and the measurable results achieved. Each of these firms represent a different level of maturity with respect to Lean product development, but each of them also reported significant gains – with, in most cases, the hard numbers to support them. The conference participants made a powerful case for applying those aspects of the Lean toolkit that are most appropriate in the domain of product development. These practices include batch size reduction, queue management techniques, parallel processes, the removal of non-value-added activities, and flow management. (7 pages)

  7. Boston Scientific Corporation: Successful Lean Product Development Boosts Efficiency Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-07-06

    In this report, Philip J. Ebeling, Director of Program Management, Lean Product Development at Boston Scientific Corporation’s Maple Grove, Minnesota facility describes his company’s successful Lean product development implementation. Boston Scientific turned to Lean to help reduce product development investment, while still managing risk and market requirements. According to Ebeling, Boston Scientific adopted a custom approach to Lean, using a hybrid of Toyota’s product developmentsystem and abstract ideas from the Lean literature, integrated with best practices in product development. Boston Scientific chose three Lean tools and focused its energies on learning and applying this small set in order to achieve quick wins. Having proved the case for Lean, the company achieved marked success applying its principles to team performance. As Lean has spread to other projects, Boston Scientific has enjoyed improvements across the dimensions of cost, schedule and performance. (6 pages)

  8. Bringing the Value of Lean to Product Development: Audio Session Transcript Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-06-22

    In this presentation, Mark Thut of consultancy PRTM presents a comprehensive model for Lean product development (LPD). He presents empirical data arguing that product development organizations have reached the point of diminishing returns through the application of phase-gate processes, cross-functional teams and other traditional methods. As a result, many organizations have started to apply Lean principles to product development in order to reach the next level of capability. Thut presents a top-down model for LPD including common failure modes; a list of areas within product development where waste tends to creep in; a model for the various organizational levels at which LPD is applied; specific examples from Lean product development organizations, along with the measurable results they have achieved. Download the presentation slides (44 slides) here and then download the transcript below (20 pages).

  9. Bringing the Value of Lean to Product Development: Audio Session Summary Locked

    Research | Posted: 2006-06-22

    Related Links: Transcript (20 pages)| Audio (mp3) | Slides In this presentation, Mark Thut of consultancy PRTM presents a comprehensive model for Lean product development (LPD). He presents empirical data arguing that product development organizations have reached the point of diminishing returns through the application of phase-gate processes, cross-functional teams and other traditional methods. As a result, many organizations have started to apply Lean principles to product development in order to reach the next level of capability. Thut presents a top-down model for LPD including common failure modes; a list of areas within product development where waste tends to creep in; a model for the various organizational levels at which LPD is applied; specific examples from Lean product development organizations, along with the measurable results they have achieved. (8 pages).

  10. Lean Product Development:  A Framework & Overview Locked

    Research | Posted: 2005-12-29

    This secondary research report presents several different definitions of Lean Product Development derived from experts such as Michael Kennedy and Don Reinertsen. It reviews the roots of Lean in the Toyota Production System and discusses the relationship between that System and its extensions into the product development domain. The report concludes that, whatever their differences, the several definitions of Lean display a family resemblance centering on a sustained focus on eliminating waste and increasing efficiencies; a focus on customer value; a division of activities into value-added and non-value added; decision-making based on economics rather than abstract principles (e.g. “late changes are always bad,” “avoid rework”); and an emphasis on built-in learning and continuous improvement. (5 pages)

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