Lean Product Development
Fold your arms
Which arm is on top?
Unfold your arms and refold them with the
opposite arm on top.
• Some will find it easy. Some may not.
• Does the new position feel comfortable?
• In today’s globally competitive environment
speed is everything.
• Design teams need to be fast, flexible and
• Applying Lean in product development
requires optimizing the growth of knowledge
about the product, customer, and
• Lean Product Development A practical approach to accelerating time-tomarket through aggressive waste elimination
in planning, resource management, design
control, and interdisciplinary communication.
3 Key Elements
Lean Product Development Process
1. Driving waste out of the product development
2. Improving the way projects are executed.
3. Visualizing the product development process.
Lean the Process
• By closely examining
the entire product
from a Lean
opportunities to drive
out waste and increase
value become obvious.
• Learn to identify the
• Defects are the result of executed processes
that did not produce value.
– Incomplete information
– Quality is lacking or suspect
– Reworking product of processes
– Ambiguous information
– Inaccurate information
– Missed tolerances or specifications
• Waste from producing product that is not
currently needed or product that is not
needed at all.
– Too much detail
– Unnecessary information
– Cost overruns from excessive time
– Overlap of strategic and non-strategic projects
competing for limited resources
• No value added while people wait for product
to process or product waits for people or
– Unbalanced workflow with the team
– Time spent getting approvals
– Unavailable information
– Hand offs, where we pass something to someone
• The waste of underutilized intelligence and
intellect are commonly referred to as
– Underutilizing people’s knowledge and creativity
– Uneven workflow resulting with some team
members overburdened while others are
• While the product is moving, no value is
added to it.
– Carrying, mailing, or even emailing documents
stops the process
– Electronic system hand offs
– Multiple sources
– Incompatible destinations requiring multiple
• Inventory is the collection of unprocessed
documents, data objects, and transactions
queued-up between people and processes.
– Collections of unprocessed information and data
– Incomplete content
– Too much information
• Excess movement by people or equipment
only consumes time and resources without
– Efficiency of software – number of mouse clicks,
routines, and transactions
– Frequency of searching for information
– Information pushed to wrong people
• Doing more than what is necessary to
generate satisfactory value as defined by the
– Using software that functions beyond what is
– Product designs or processes that are too complex
– Excessive number of iterations or verifications
– Over-designed or over-engineered product
• In a Lean environment, the expectation is that everyone has
– First, to run the business on a day-to-day basis.
– Second, to improve the business, or contribute to improving it
• Improvement efforts are generally categorized by the scope,
scale, and duration of the improvement task.
– Longer duration, more complex improvement tasks require the
problem solving team to utilize a project.
• How do we standardize, communicate, and visually manage
project management process effectively?
– In the Lean environment that is something called an A3.
A3 - What is it really?
• The A3 is a “way of thinking”.
• Complex situations broken into a simple data driven stories.
• It forces you to filter and refine your thoughts to fit on one
sheet of paper in such a way that management has all of their
major questions answered by reading a single sheet of paper.
• It is a way to coach and develop associates by providing a
forum for discussion about the specific point in the story and
the thinking behind it.
• Consensus building tool through the
• A good A3 should “tell a story” about a proposal,
project, problem, or process.
• It balances words with graphics to tell the story.
– Find the most effective graphics to emphasize your ideas,
plans, and/or results.
• Every word or graph on the A3 should mean
• Use underlined or bold text to focus attention on key
Characteristics of an Effective A3
Easy to read
Involve team members to create
Data-driven and factual
Clear objectives and statements
Analysis of the situation or problem
Cost evaluation or alternative evaluation
Clear action plans
Clear follow-up activities
Share the lessons learned
– You can solve the problems, but if you don’t share what
you’ve learned, you have missed a key opportunity.
General A3 Flow – PDCA
Plan – Do – Check - Act
Make the Process Visual
• Visual boards displaying necessary
information provide a status at a glance.
• “Stand-up” meetings in combination with the
visual boards allow for optimized
• Monitor the process with metrics.
Flow the Process
See the Process
Keys to Visualization
• Entire system is visible
in one place.
• Weekly updates and
review at the board.
• Can see WIP in process
• Individual A3’s provide
specific project detail
on granular level.
• Identifying, qualifying, and funding projects/programs that
address the business strategy.
• Managing organizational resource demand, capacity, and
• Measuring performance to ensure that projects/programs are
collectively meeting the portfolio strategy.
• Identifying and taking corrective actions on
projects/programs not in compliance with portfolio objectives
• Establishing effective communication and reporting
mechanisms that enable timely, fact-based, decision-making
regarding projects, programs, and the overall portfolio.
• Implementing a process to continuously improve the
Monitor the Metrics
% projects on schedule
Total value of projects in portfolio
Total headcount assigned to the
portfolio of R&D projects
Planned vs. Actual spend
# projects completed
# projects added
# projects in each stage of the
• Remember that the pursuit of Lean is a
relentless journey and requires strong
commitment to change and continuous
• A Lean Product Development Process will
drive profitable, sustain growth and customer
Founder & Contributor
A Lean Journey Blog