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Managing the Design Factory Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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Warren S. Nix President and CEO, Lumonics Corporation This book is absolutely essential reading for product team leaders who must "do" rather than debate. I will require that all senior executives at Lumonics read this book.
Neil Hagglund Corporate Vice President and Director of Corporate Technology Planning, Motorola, Inc. A valuable and much needed view of the product development process. Engrossing and stimulating reading flill of excellent tools and firmly anchored on the basic reality of why we do product development -- to make a profit!
Art Lane General Manager, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Storage Solutions Division At Hewlett-Packard we continuously strive to improve our product development methods, but too often only look internally for ideas. I would recommend this book because it impresses me as a source of sound, practical advice from Don's broad industry experience.
Kevin Sharer President and COO, Amgen Provides real world, usable advice and challenges managers to think about issues of enduring importance.
Robert T. Franzo Manager, Messaging and Digital Mobile Radio, Wireless Communications Products, IC Group, Lucent Technologies A compelling new model for profitable product development. Don Reinertsen reveals some of the best kept secrets to running a decision and profit based development process. This book will be a key resource for organizations using product development to compete in the competitive dynamic market we all encounter.
Dr. Paul Borrill Chief Scientist, Sun Microsystems A brilliant and unique perspective on the economic and business dimensions of product design. Reinertsen's insights into the human and economic dimensions of product design are outstanding.
From the Back Cover
The first book to put the principles of World Class Manufacturing to work in the development process, Managing the Design Factory combines the powerful analytical tools of queuing, information, and system theories with the proven ideas of organization design and risk management. The result: a methodical approach to consistently hit the "sweet spot" of quality, cost, and time in developing any product. Reinertsen illustrates these concepts with concrete examples drawn from his work with many leading companies across different industries. Unlike other books that promote rules and rituals based on benchmarking "best practices", this book focuses on practical tools that account for varied situations. He breaks new ground with a disciplined, quantitative approach for making decisions on critical issues: When should we use a sequential or concurrent process? Centralized or decentralized control? Functional or team organizations? Full of practical techniques, concrete examples, and solid general principles, this is a real toolkit for product developers.
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The book consists of four parts. The first part is a general introduction to product development and clarifies some assumptions made in the rest of the book. The second part is a set of thinking tools for product development. The third part provides concrete practices, called action tools. The last part summerizes the rest of the book and suggests actions to take.
The thinking tools in the second part are key-insights in product development. The first thinking tool is to try to think of product development economically. This also provides four ways to optimize your product development: lowest expense, lowest unit cost, highest performance and shortest time. In the rest of the book Reinertsen uses these four optimizations to show how each action tool will need to be used differently. The second thinking tool is queueing theory. It provides a view of product development as a series of queues. Managing the product development queues becomes essential. The third thinking tool is information theory. What is the value of information and how to optimize for the value. The last thinking tool is systems theory. Think of whole product development as systems, look for feedback loops and look for assumptions behind your current thinking. The thinking tools were the most interesting part of the book (in my opinion) and I thoroughly enjoyed any of these chapters.
The actions tools in part three provide concrete things to do in your product development. This part will use the thinking tools provided in part two to explain the action and also explain how they are different in the different optimizations. The tools were clear and useful. The only criticism could be that there is some duplication between "Developing products in half the time", but that was expected. Also, the tools are just introduced in one chapter and most of them could have filled a book on its own.
Conclusion. "Managing the design factory" is an excellent book on product development and provides key-insights and tools for looking at product development. I would recommend it for anyone who is involved in product development.
For example, the chapter on queuing theory is very concise but also crystal clear, and has helped me look at Kanban under a sharper light. The chapter on the value of information and how it relates to risk taking was also an eye opener. There are many such gems here, even though the book is relatively short. Every page counts.
I think it's a wonderful book for project managers and anyone who has a desire to equip themselves with some fundamentals on which to make better decisions in the complex process of product design. The book aims to help you think clearer and gives you some navigational aids to steer your teams and organisations to a successful outcome.