Stop treating product development like manufacturing


If your business is like a motorcycle, then manufacturing is like an engine and product development is like the gas that fuels it.  One is made up of rigid structures that are fit together precisely while the other is a volatile and fluid substance that must be handled more carefully.  Both are critical parts of what makes the vehicle fulfill its purpose, but neither are subject to the same rules.

This is what Don Reinertsen and Stefan Thomke are pointing to in their recent collaborative article, “Six Myths of Product Development” (Harvard Business Review, 4/27/12).  What are the myths?  They’re listed below, but for the full text article, hit the link above.

  1. High utilization of resources will improve performance.
  2. Processing work in large batches improves the economics of the development process.
  3. Our development plan is great; we just need to stick to it.
  4. The sooner the project is started, the sooner it will be finished.
  5. The more features we put into a product, the more customers will like it.
  6. We will be more successful if we get it right the first time.

Reinertsen and Thomke draw on examples from Apple, Google, Disney, Ideo and others as they delve into how statistically based methods such as queuing theory and batch size can guide you to better economic performance from your business engine.

MRT Workshop: Second Generation Lean Product Development: Applying the Principles of Flow

Participants of this workshop each get a FREE copy of Don Reinertsen’s latest book which takes this issue to the next level, The Principles of Product Development Flow

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Infographic: Anatomy of a bad R&D metric


If you haven’t noticed, infographics are all the rage on the intertubes these days.  They seem like the equivalent of those posters they had on the walls of elementary schools 20+ years ago imploring good nutrition and hygiene, and the ones at the eye doctor’s that show what diseased corneas look like.

Please enjoy our stab at an infographic to help promote our ongoing workshop series on R&D metrics with Wayne Mackey of Product Development Consulting, Inc. and co-author of Value Innovation Portfolio Management.

R&D Metrics: Quantifying Portfolio Decisions, Projects and Profits – 2-Day Workshop

Look who’s jumping on the “Death to Facebook” bandwagon…


We are going to take the highroad.  We won’t even mention that we’ve been posting about Facebook being a temporary phenomena since well before the IPO fiasco (whoops, ok, we lied).  So it’s very interesting now that the shiny new social media toy has begun to show frayed edges and the novelty is wearing off, just how many people are starting to echo the drumbeat we joined about a year ago.

This week some analysts have decided to chime in, bringing the muscle of metrics to the cause and citing studies that show “one third of Facebook users report declining usage over the past 6 months,” and facts like GM pulling $10-million of advertising from the site.  FB is an easy target now that we have recently witnessed their biggest stumble as their share price has fallen 32% since going public.  Where were these analysts with these bold predictions back when everything was still unicorns and rainbows?

Here are the latest articles from those late to the lynch mob:

The Facebook Deathclock remains at 5 minutes to midnight (because I can’t find a good graphic that show 4 minutes to).