If you play any kind of role in new product development and aren’t familiar with the work and contributions of Preston Smith, then you should seriously question the completeness of your professional education. Co-author with Don Reinertsen of the book, “Developing Products in Half the Time,” I count Preston Smith as one of a handful of people who taught me how to truly judge what makes a difference in being a successful product developer.
You can have all the black belts and certificates you want, but without having a sound fundamental understanding of the total system’s economics, you’ll be like a power tool with no electricity. The work of Preston Smith is that electricity that can turn inanimate knowledge into a productive weapon against failure.
The most important concept that Preston teaches is what’s best known as the “cost of delay.” Ever since cycle time and time-based competition was identified as a critical determinant of market success and failure, Preston was one of the few leading the charge for examining process economics to steer decision making. While most were pursuing speed at all costs, Preston and other like-minded contemporaries were guiding people to express things in dollars and cents. If you knew that every day of delay in development was costing you $20K in lost market revenue, well, it made things much easier to prioritize.
I could fill a blog every day for a year discussing Preston’s contributions to industry and to myself personally, but what I’m actually writing about today is to help spread the word about Preston’s pending retirement and his last gift to all product developers. Preston will soon be closing down his consulting firm, and with it, his website – www.newproductdyamics.com. For many years, Preston has been freely sharing much of his intellectual property, articles, publications, and more, but soon this knowledge will be made more rare.
Preston has asked me to help let people know that this is the last chance to download any material that you may find of use from this site. I also fully endorse picking up his books, and if you can only get one, get DPHTT, mentioned above. Management techniques are trends that come and go, but the sound thinking behind Preston’s work is fundamentally embedded in the NPD process and will continue to stand even long after his website is gone.
- New Product Dynamics website
- Preston’s Articles – many .pdf’s available
- Preston’s Publications – books and more