NPD Tales

Ideas Thoughts and Comments on Product Development

Lean Product Development – Entrepreneur System Designers

In larger companies, it is very common to find the new product development project managers who are very remote from the aspects of the process that generate real value.

Their goals are often to satisfy senior managers rather then customers, they are often focussed on administering the project rather then driving the design.  Assembling project plans, chasing work, nagging the engineers, tracking deliverables and reporting progress are the main parts of the role.  They are often bored and don’t inspire the development team and the net result is that progress is reduced to a crawl.

When looking at companies who have firmly instilled the concepts of Lean into their product development activities it is common to find the product development is driven by someone whose responsibility is defined more succinctly as being charged with developing a successful product.  The individual is expected to create and communicate a vision for the overall product and inspire a team of developers to strive to meet that vision.  There is a need for the individual to control the development process but the focus is on keeping things moving and eliminating waste.  Equally important is the need to make fast and correct decisions based on balancing risk, time, cost and technical achievement.

The individual possesses characteristics that are more in common with a director or vice-president in a start up company than a pen pushing project co-ordinator.

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