Archive for October, 2010

Keeping design options open reduces time to market.

Monday, October 11th, 2010

It seems like a paradox, but thorough product definition can delay market launch.  In innovative, dynamic markets, keeping some design options open for a time can speed time to market.

Traditional phase-gate thinking is that you have to freeze your product definition before you start development.  Flexible Product Development (FPD) is a new approach that advocates keeping some options open until later in the project.

How can flexible options reduce time to market?  In a fast-moving business environment, FPD eliminates the need to delay development until requirements become stable.  As an example, consider developing standards-driven products while the standards are evolving.

If you expect a product definition to be rock solid before you start development, you have to delay development until the standards are finalized.  If you could cost-effectively start development before requirements are frozen, you could beat competitors to market.

The usual motivation for freezing product definition before starting development is to prevent costly mid stream changes.  FPD takes a different approach–instead of trying to eliminate change, eliminate most of the cost of change by the way you design the product and plan the development.

If your product line would benefit from more flexibility to respond in dynamic markets, consider the benefits of Flexible Product Development.

Here are some FPD resources: