NPD Tales

Ideas Thoughts and Comments on Product Development

Lean Product Development – Cadence

One of the key aspects of Lean Manufacturing is Takt Time.  This is a heartbeat of the production process that ensures your production meets demand (but not exceeds – that’s wasteful overproduction) and enables pull scheduling.

Of course trying to precisely transfer lean manufacturing tools across to product development is invariably inappropriate.  But if you think about the concepts behind takt time it can reveal ideas to help in the non-linear non-repetitive world of product development.

For example many existing processes have a small number of review stages that are event or content driven (i.e. at a particular stage in the development).  This results in large amounts of untested or unverified work building up with errors being detected far too late.  In addition if one facet of the design doesn’t meet the milestone for the review point it can cause knock on delays to the whole project.

Consider instead reviews that are scheduled to occur at regular intervals that cover whatever work has been done over each time period.  Errors and deviations from the plan can be detected early and action can be taken to reduce the wastes associated with amplification of errors and waiting.