Skip to navigation, content

Fast and Flexible Product Development
October 8-10, 2003 / Chicago, IL


Workshop A -  8:00am - 12:00pm
Using Front-Loaded Prototyping for Faster Learning, Better Decision-Making and Compelling Products

Prototypes have always been a part of product development – often a decision-making tool for product developers. Yet they have been too few, too infrequent, and too late to be central to the decision making process – key decisions were already made by the time they appeared, and prototypes simply confirmed the direction of a product.

Today’s prototyping technologies permit earlier, faster and cheaper prototypes – feedback from these more frequent prototypes can now illuminate development decisions as they are being made. Smart prototyping also makes it easier to draw into the decision process those who cannot read engineering drawings (marketing and sales professionals, finance specialists, suppliers, and customers) and take advantage of their insights and guidance.

This workshop will explore this new—much more valuable—role for prototypes. We will learn how:

  • a sequence of decisions forms the core of product development
  • these decisions can be facilitated by timely, just-adequate prototypes
  • you can adjust your development process and mindset to exploit this new way of developing products

Preston SmithPreston G. Smith
New Product Dynamics

Preston has worked exclusively on accelerated product development for over ten years. He founded New Product Dynamics in 1986 to bring rapid development expertise to a wide variety of companies as an independent consultant.

In addition to publishing numerous articles on the techniques of speeding up product development, Preston is author (with Donald Reinersten) of Developing Products in Half the Time, published by Van Norstrand Reinhold. Preston's most recent book is Proactive Risk Management: Controlling Uncertainty in Product Development, co-authored with Guy Merritt and published by Productivity Press.

Related Articles
by Preston Smith:

Workshop B -  8:00am - 5:00pm
Achieving Flexibility with Lean Product Development

Making a development process more flexible requires changing the way we think about product development. Some of the techniques that are now called "lean principles" have had a profound impact on the flexibility of our manufacturing processes. Plants that used to quote lead-times measured in months now quote lead-times in days. Changeovers that once took hours now take minutes.

With some careful adaptation, these same techniques can be applied to our product development processes. We can dramatically reduce "Design in Process Inventory", decrease batch sizes, shrink queues, and smooth flow. Lessons learned on the manufacturing floor can be applied in product development as long as we respect the important differences between product development and manufacturing. Manufacturing is repetitive, low uncertainty, bounded, and linear. Product development is non-repetitive, high uncertainty, unbounded, and non-linear.

This workshop shows participants how to apply several important lean tools to their product development process. Many manufacturing applications of lean tools focus on waste reduction. However, for product developers there is far more economic leverage in using these tools to increase flexibility. This one-day seminar is narrowly focused on using lean tools to increase development process flexibility.

Through experiential exercises, lectures and facilitated Q&A, you will learn how to:

  • Smooth flow in your product development process
  • Increase the flexibility of development resources
  • Analyze queues and troubleshoot their causes
  • Unlock the power of small batch sizes
  • Determine the financial impact of these changes

Reinertsenphoto.jpg (3912 bytes)Don Reinertsen
Reinertsen & Associates,
Author of Managing the Design Factory and co-author, Developing Products in Half the Time

Don Reinertsen is President of Reinertsen & Associates, specializing in the management of the product development process. Before forming his own firm he consulted at McKinsey & Co., an international, management consulting firm, and was Senior Vice President of operations at Zimmerman Holdings, a private diversified manufacturing company. His contributions in the field of product development have been recognized internationally. He is particularly noted for bringing fresh perspectives and quantitative rigor to development process management.

In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co. he wrote a landmark article in Electronic Business magazine that first quantified the value of development speed. This article has been cited as the frequently quoted McKinsey study that indicated "6 months delay can be worth 33 percent of life cycle profits." He coined the term "Fuzzy Front End" in 1983, began applying world class manufacturing techniques in product development in 1985. His latest book, Managing the Design Factory, is recognized as a powerful and thoughtful application of manufacturing thinking to product development.

Don is also co-author of, Developing Products in Half the Time. He teaches a popular executive course at Cal Tech, called Streamlining the Product Development Process. Mr. Reinertsen holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Related Articles
by Don Reinertsen:

Workshop C - 1:00pm - 5:00pm
10X Development: Creating Order of Magnitude Products from Fuzzy Market Requirements

Modern-day Product Development is distinguished by vastly compressed time frames, constant multi-functional interactions and significant process flexibility. Process alone is no longer enough to guarantee successful product launches. Improvements in development tools and techniques can only deliver marginal benefits to highly constrained development processes with little "slack" left in the system. Understanding how your customer’s think & choose, how your competition will behave and how your development team interacts is increasingly fetching a higher fraction of the returns in the development process. Winning teams must integrate these dynamics with the proper tools & techniques to optimize their chances for successful launches.

The high uncertainty of today’s markets combined with the constant evolution of technologies has created an environment where getting the product right involves more than integrating the Voice of the Customer. This new era involves embracing fuzzy market requirements, delaying technical specifications and integrating continuous comprehensive testing. To do this requires a system that can deliver more than one or two incremental customer improvements, but deliver products that dwarf the competition.

10XDevelopment will show you how to chart a path to creating products that eclipse your competition by employing the concept of order of magnitude. This system involves studying, identifying and experimenting in an iterative way to determine the ten highest benefits to your customer group. Concurrently, this method forces the human dynamics of the development process to deliver products that can compete as best-of-class offerings at several levels. By creating products designed to deliver these multiple benefits, differentiation in the marketplace is increased ten-fold.


David Roach
Produxys Solutions

David C. Roach, MBA, P.Eng. brings 20 years of experience in the area of innovation management & entrepreneurship, specializing in the field of Product & Process innovation. Some career highlights include seed capital financing & technology commercialization with InNOVAcorp, manufacturing & quality engineering with General Motors of Canada Ltd., and product design, development and marketing with Navitrak International Corporation. Academically, Mr. Roach brings a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Dalhousie University with concentration in International Business and Marketing. His training also includes executive level courses at such institutes as Harvard Business School (Leading Product Development) and Kellogg Graduate School of Management (e-business). Recent presentations include Managing the Virtual Product Development Organization, Genesis of a New Product and Flexibility by Design for the Management Roundtable (Waltham, MA). He lectures at the graduate level in Marketing Technology Products, New Product Development and New Venture Creation at Dalhousie University. He also delivers executive business courses internationally in Managing Product Innovation and Marketing. Mr. Roach has been instrumental in many start-up and early stage companies including the ORB Factory Ltd., a company specializing in transformational novelty products, as a director in Environmental Packaging Systems Ltd., a company specializing in transportation services for pharmaceutical clinical trials and Director Handheld Systems for Navitrak International Corporation (TSX: YNK), a publicly traded company specializing in commercial GPS and mapping products. Mr. Roach maintains his own consulting company Produxys Solutions Inc., specializing in product innovation and life cycle management