Most product developers believe that predictability is intrinsically good, and unpredictability is intrinsically bad. Their distaste for unpredictability is solidly anchored on some painful real-life horror stories. As a result, they strive to eliminate as much variability as possible in schedule, performance, and cost; they try to make their processes less sensitive to variability; they even forgo high-upside opportunities because of associated variability. They unquestioningly accept the manufacturing belief that higher variability always creates higher exposure to bad economic outcomes.
But, what if bad outcomes in the presence of variability are caused by the way we design and manage our development processes? Might it be possible to design development processes that achieve their best outcomes in the presence of variability? Nassim Taleb coined the term antifragility to describe such systems. In this presentation, Don Reinertsen will discuss how methods like small batch size, fast feedback loops, and limited work-in-process inventory can be used to enable such antifragile behavior in product development. In a world that only promises to become more uncertain, our goal should be to thrive on uncertainty rather than just survive it.
Don is the President of Reinertsen & Associates, a consulting firm specialized in the management of product development. He has worked with leading product development organizations for over 30 years, and taught executive courses at Caltech for 14 years.
He is the author/co-author of three best-selling books on product development. His latest awarding winning book, 'The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development', has been praised as, “… quite simply the most advanced product development book you can buy.”
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