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The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development Hardcover – May 29, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

At Accuer, our business depends on helping successful product developers become even better. We need to provide real results, quickly, in lots of different areas. Because we need to stay at the leading edge, I've studied and read almost every book on lean product development; this one is better than the rest of them combined! Why? It's a unique combination of practical methods and clear explanations of the science that makes them work. If you've enjoyed Don's previous books as much as I have, you're guaranteed like this one. ----David W. Paulson, President Accuer, Inc.

This book challenges an awful lot of fashionable ideas on improving product development processes. It provides a vast number of very solid principles that could make a big difference for almost any product development organization, from beginners to the most advanced. It offers a fundamentally different way of thinking about product development processes. Don't read it if you are content with business as usual! ----Andrew Flint, Microsoft Hardware

About the Author

For 30 years, Don Reinertsen has been a thought leader in the field of product development. In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he wrote the landmark article in Electronic Business magazine that first quantified the financial value of development speed. In 1985, he coined the term Fuzzy Front End to describe the earliest stage of product development. In 1991, he wrote the first article showing how queueing theory could be practically applied to product development.

His 1991 book, Developing Products in Half the Time, coauthored with Preston Smith, is a product development classic. His 1997 book, Managing the Design Factory, was the first book to describe how the principles of Just-in-Time manufacturing could be applied to product development. In the 12 years since this book appeared, this approach has become known as lean product development. For 15 years, Don taught executive courses on product development at California Institute of Technology. He currently teaches public seminars throughout the world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Celeritas Publishing; 1 edition (May 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935401009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935401001
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I won't repeat what others have said except that this new standard on lean product and software development challenges orthodox thinking on every side and is required reading. It's fairly technical and not an easy read but well worth the effort.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've ever wondered why agile or lean development techniques work, The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald G. Reinertsen is the book for you. It's quite simply the most advanced product development book you can buy.

For those who hunger for a rigorous approach to managing product development, Donald Reinertsen's book is epic. Myths are busted on practically every page, even myths that are associated with lean/agile. For example, take the lean dictum of working in small batches. I push this technique quite often, because traditional product development tends to work in batches that are much too large. Yet it's not correct to say that batch sizes should be as small as possible. Reinertsen explains how to calculate the optimal batch size from an economic point of view, math and all. It's wonderful to have an author take these sorts of questions seriously, instead of issuing yet another polemic.

The book is structured as a series of principles, logically laid out and briefly discussed - 175 in all. It moves at a rapid clip, each argument backed up with the relevant math and equations: marginal profit, Little's law, Markov processes, probability theory, you name it. This is not for the faint of heart.

The use of economic theory to justify decisions is a recurring theme of the book. Its goal is to help us recognize that every artifact of our product development process is really just a proxy variable. Everything: schedules, efficiency, throughput, even quality. In order to trade them off against each other, we have to convert their impact into economic terms. They are all proxies for our real goal, maximizing an economic variable like profit or revenue. Therefore, in order to maximize the true productivity (aka profitability) of our development efforts, we need to understand the relationships between these proxy variables.

[...]
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot of books. This is the most important one I've read in 10 years.

Reinertsen synthesizes several tough subject areas: queuing, ToC, Lean, and Real Options. There's rigor here, but it's incredibly accessible and presented in a set of concise principles.

I've bought copies to hand out, and I'm promoting this as a way to put business, technology, and marketing all on the same page. If we can all talk about the cost of delay, then all kinds of emotion-based debate just evaporates.
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Format: Hardcover
Don Reinertsen has written two of the three books I recommend
when someone asks me what to read about product development.
He wrote Managing the Design Factory and co-authored (with
Preston Smith) Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules,
New Tools (2nd Edition). (The third book I recommend is the
first half of Kiyoshi Uchimaru's TQM for Technical Groups.)

Reinertsen has now written an important new book, The Principles of
Product Development Flow -- Second Generation Lean Product
Development. On page 1 of this book, Reinertsen states his ambition
for the book: "I believe that the dominant paradigm for managing
product development is fundamentally wrong....I believe a new
paradigm is emerging, one that challenges the current orthodoxy of
product development. I want to help accelerate the adoption of this
new approach. I believe I can do this by helping people understand
it. That is the purpose of this book."

I agree that practices like the phase gate review process are a
mistake (and counter productive in even more ways than Reinertsen
lists). My impression from my years leading development organizations
is that the developers themselves also thought much of current
practice was misguided, but they were stuck with what is claimed to
be "best practice."

Reinertsen's book does not give a new process for product
development. Rather, he provides explanations of what is wrong with
current practice, a discussion of eight general "themes" for
improvement, and 175 principles (divided among the eight themes) upon
which to base one's thinking as one develops one's own product
development system.

Buy the book. It is excellent. It will help you figure out how to do
product development better in your own organization.
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