Flexible product development

Flexible product development is the ability to make changes in the product being developed or in how it is developed, even relatively late in development, without being too disruptive. Consequently, the later one can make changes, the more flexible the process is, and the less disruptive the change is, the greater the flexibility.

Flexibility is important because the development of a new product naturally involves change from what came before it. Change can be expected in what the customer wants and how the customer might use the product, in how competitors might respond, and in the new technologies being applied in the product or in its manufacturing process. The more innovative a new product is, the more likely it is that the development team will have to make changes during development.

Flexible development counteracts the tendencies of many contemporary management approaches to plan a project completely at its outset and discourage change thereafter. These include Six Sigma, which aims to drive variation out of a process; lean, which acts to drive out waste; and traditional project management and phased development systems (including the popular Stage-Gate model), which encourage upfront planning and following the plan. Although these methodologies have strengths, their side effect is encouraging rigidity in a process that needs flexibility to be effective, especially for truly innovative products.

For more mature product categories, flexibility techniques are not only overly expensive but often unwise. Consequently, flexibility techniques must be used with discretion, for instance, only in the portions of a product likely to undergo change.

When applied to the development of software products, these methods are commonly known as agile software development. However, agile software methods generally rely on special characteristics of the software medium, especially object technologies, which are not available to non-software products. Consequently, flexible product development draws from some of the roots of agile software development but tends to use other tools and approaches that apply beyond the software medium.

Flexible development uses several techniques to keep the cost of change low and to make decisions at the last responsible moment. These techniques include modular architectures to encapsulate change, experimentation and iteration to sample results and check them out with the customer frequently, set-based design to build and maintain options, and emergent processes that develop during a project in response to its needs.

See also

* New product development
*Agile software development
* Traditional project management
*Six Sigma
* Lean

External links

* [http://www.agilealliance.org Agile software development]
* [http://apln.org Agile project management]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • New product development — In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product to market. A product is a set of benefits offered for exchange and can be tangible (that is, something physical …   Wikipedia

  • Flexible-fuel vehicle — For other types of vehicles, see Alternative fuel vehicle and Hybrid vehicle. The Ford Model T was the first commercial flex fuel vehicle. The engine was capable of running on gasoline or ethanol, or a mix of both. A flexible fuel vehicle (FFV)… …   Wikipedia

  • Product (business) — In general, the product is defined as a thing produced by labor or effort [1] or the result of an act or a process ,[2] and stems from the verb produce, from the Latin prōdūce(re) (to) lead or bring forth . Since 1575, the word product has… …   Wikipedia

  • Development Assistance Database — The Development Assistance Database (DAD) is a widely used Aid Information Management System (AIMS) developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc for Aid Management, Public Investment and National Budgeting. It has been established in more than …   Wikipedia

  • Flexible intermediate bulk container — A Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container, FIBC , big bag, bulk bag, or super sack is a standardized container in large dimensions for storing and transporting and storing for example sand, fertilizers , granules of plastics or other dry products.… …   Wikipedia

  • Scrum (development) — Scrum is an iterative incremental process of software development commonly used with agile software development. Despite the fact that Scrum is not an acronym, some companies implementing the process have been known to adhere to an all capital… …   Wikipedia

  • Software development process — Activities and steps Requirements Specification …   Wikipedia

  • Mobile business development — is a category of business development which focuses on attracting new customers in the Mobile Web markets. There are large efforts being made to make innovative mobile ICT services work. Examples of these services include mobile tourist guides… …   Wikipedia

  • Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development — The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, also called Framework Programmes or abbreviated FP1 through FP8, are funding programmes created by the European Union in order to support and encourage research in the European… …   Wikipedia

  • Internet-Speed Development — What is Internet Speed DevelopmentInternet Speed Development is an Agile Software Development development method using a combined spiral model/waterfall model with daily builds aimed at developing a product with high speed.It was developed in the …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.