Developing Products in Half the Time (Competitive manufacturing series) by Donald G. Reinertsen,Preston G. Smith

Developing Products in Half the Time (Competitive manufacturing series)
ISBN 0471287075
  • Author:
    Donald G. Reinertsen,Preston G. Smith
  • Title:
    Developing Products in Half the Time (Competitive manufacturing series)
  • Category:
  • Subcategory:
    Marketing & Sales
  • ISBN13:
  • Publisher:
    Wiley; 1 edition (September 1995)
  • Pages:
  • Size PDF version
    1758 kb
  • Size FB2 version
    1383 kb
  • Size EPUB version
    1838 kb
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This work looks at the relation of accelerated product development to a company's survival in the 1990s, and asks how organizations get good products out faster. Using examples, it shows what works and what doesn't - and why. Techniques are explained for increasing development speed by two-or-three fold. These techniques include: recovering time in the fuzzy front end; avoiding the major project by using small wins and customer feedback; choosing the organizational form that best speeds decision making; avoiding the many sources of delay in conventional product management; and exploiting concurrent engineering.

"Developing products in half the time" is a collection of tools and practices that can be used to speed up the release of your new products. The book provides a well-balanced view on how to cut the development time and especially what the trade-off is that you will probably make. Many of the tools and practice are only touched upon and would require a book on its own.

Preston Smith and Donald Reinertsen start the book by tackling some important misconceptions about fast development. Their opinion is that it's not per definition good and you really need to have a good reason to speed up the development. They continue this theme in their second chapter which gives a basic financial model that they will use during the rest of the book. It explains what trade-off will be made when saving time in a particular way. The rest of the book provides practices to save development time: starting with "the fuzzy front end". In power of incremental innovation they argue that most products can probably be developed incrementally, which reduces development time and risk a lot.

Chapter 7 and 8 are key to the book, they provide motivation for using cross-functional development teams. How to create these, how do they fit within the organization and where should you locate them. This concept is repeated probably most throughout the book.

Developing in half time is an excellent read. It's full of small ideas which can help your development process to deliver faster and explains the trade-offs well. The only criticism to this book would be that all topics are discussed only shortly. Recommended reading.
I purchased Developing Products in Half the Time becaue it was one of the most frequently referenced books in a number of articles and papers that I read on rapid product development. The book begins by covering the topic of product development and the reasons there is interest in rapid product development. It then explores chapter by chapter the tools and best practices that are most applicable when trying to achieve rapid product development.

I appreciated the books organization and approach because each of the tools can be consider by itself and at the same time the reader can consider the synergy between the tools. The explenations for the tools and their impacts are clearly explained, well researched, and where possible supported by quantitative data. For example when exploring the benefits of co-location there is a graph from a research project that shows how the amount of communication between team members decreases as the distance between them increases. With the tools and their potential impact so clearly laid out is easy to envision their practical application.
great ant
This book giver clear insights about product development in general. What amazed me when I read the first edition is that agile software development methodologies are clearly aligned with these book findings. Preston Smith and Reinertsen did an excellent job and succeded to create a better book in this new edition!

Keep an eye open specially to the tools listed below(number is the corresponding chapter) and watch the link with agile processes:

2. Putting a Price Tag on Time --> how to convince upper management to do small releases and work in an iterative and incremental mindset.

4. The Power and Pitfalls of Incremental Innovation --> Why to be agile and how to mitigate risks described in the disadvantages section.

5. Capturing Customer Needs --> Why to work jointly with all stakeholders and stay focused in minimal and iterative specifications.

6. Using System Design to Compress Schedules --> Why software architecture is an important activity and why projects must be planned based on architecture.

8. Organizing for Communication --> Why Co-location brings benefits most of the times.

10. Controlling the Process --> why insitute essential metrics and which are these. Aligned with information radiators practice of agile software development teams.

11. Preventing Overloads --> One of the best in the set. With great empirical evidence the authors explain why most managers do the wrong thing and try to mantain 100% people allocation. In this chapter he gives light to why is not a good thing to split people between various projects and what to do: control the project list religiously! The agile methodologies also say: Control the feature list of each project religiously :-) !

Read this book, if you want to understand why agile and iterative development processes are the way to build most software products out there!
Not very for software development at this point. Didn't realize how dated it would be, or how generic. Read descriptions closely.
Excellent book for all product developers to read.
Excellent book!
I found that this book was packed full of common sense, which is rare in a development management book. Although it has a lot of examples of manufacturing of phsyical goods, I found it great as a software manager. There aren't many spare words in this book, either -- it's terse and well edited, so you get the raw facts and the necessary stories to back them up, but not a lot (or any, really) fluff.
I am putting it on my bookshelf for software engineers, right next to Writing Solid Code and Debugging the Development Process, two classics for software engineers and team leads, respectively.
While the first edition was a bit dry to read in the first four chapters, the second edition is more fun. The value of the content has not been reduced with rev 2.0, on the contrary.
The book is full of sound business theory which is well explained and put into real life context to help the non-MBA to transfer the message to their respective challenges.
Also invaluable are the hints towards common pitfalls. They show that the authors have really applied the theory and are aware of the human factor in change processes.
I read rev 1.0 and 2.0 and will probably buy 3.0 as well.
Keep going!