Lean in Product Development

We helped a consumer hardware development startup successfully launch a number of new products and develop a robust new product development process. 

It took this company close to 9 months to develop one particular product that was a relatively simple consumer device. We characterized the issues surrounding this long time-to-market cycle and found three main areas that needed to be addressed.

  • Changing specifications due to changing requirements product concept/designs
  • Lack of a clear product development process (PDP) with handoff activities at the end of each phase
  • Siloed activities with inadequate structure.
  • We addressed these issues first by interviewing cross-functional teams on the challenges they were experiencing. We sought best practices externally in the consumer hardware space and replicated those where we could. In some cases, like Mechanical Design, we brought in the help of subject matter experts.
  • After this initial work, working with the client, we came up with an end-to-end value stream. We moved from Ideation—>Concept—> Business Analysis—>Plan of Record—>Prototyping—>Product Development—>Commercialization. Through a consensus building process, we identified deliverables at each stage of the value stream and created “entitlement” timelines for each function and their respective activities. This quickly became the work standard.

We adopted this new approach to product development for the second generation product and saw significant results. 

  • Time-to-Market dropped from 9 months to 5 months with opportunities the team identified for further improvement. 
  • Rework rates reduced by close to 60% on account of improved clarity of activities based on newly established deliverables and improved communication. 
  • Sales and Marketing teams improved launch schedules which then reduced the cost of marketing by close to 30%. 
  • Hardware vendors received better clarity in their engineering specs (BOM/drawings), which enabled them to plan for parts better.

Perhaps the most important result out of this initiative was how this team was able to create a new work standard in the shape of a formal PDP which had been non-existent before. This foundation became the basis of future improvements.

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