This month’s Harvard Business Review has an excellent article on product development. Its not available online, but if you happen to pass by any of the Virgin stores somewhere in the Gulf, they usually stock a few copies.
One of the authors is Don Reinersten, who wrote the Principle of Product Development Flow – well recommended!!
The main topic of the article focuses on the fact that many companies approach product development as if it were manufacturing, trying to control costs and improve quality by applying zero-defect, efficiency-focused techniques. While this tactic can boost the performance of factories, it generally backfires with product development. The process of designing products is profoundly different from the process of making them, and the failure of executives to appreciate the differences leads to several fallacies that actually hurt product-development efforts.
In this article, the authors, an HBS professor and a consultant, expose these misperceptions and others. They look at six dangerous myths:
1. High utilization of resources will make the department more efficient.
2. Processing work in large batches will be more economical.
3. Teams need to faithfully follow their development plan, minimizing any deviations from it.
4. The sooner a project is started, the sooner it will be finished.
5. The more features a product has, the better customers will like it.
6. Projects will be more successful if teams “get them right the first time.”
The authors explain the negative effects these “principles” have when applied to product development, offer practical guidelines on overcoming them, and walk readers through a visual tool that will help them keep projects on track.
What are your thoughts on this?