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Milestone Buffer Chart: The Most Important Report You've Never Heard Of

David Paulson - 02/14/24 04:31 AM

In previous posts I’ve written about reports that are meaningless, misleading, and even damaging. (Yes, the last one actually causes your projects to...

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Resource Loading - How a Small Error Can Double Your Schedule!😧

David Paulson - 01/6/24 11:23 PM

Would you believe that a 10% increase in the workload on your teams could double the length of a project? 

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Your Favorite Report is Delaying Your Project

David Paulson - 12/6/23 03:15 AM

Most companies are trying hard to achieve predictable end dates.

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Predictable End Dates - One Company's Journey

David Paulson - 10/19/23 01:01 AM

One of the most difficult things about making process improvements is knowing where to start. Doing the wrong thing is a waste of time and money, and...

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How to calculate risk exposure - free risk exposure calculator

Eric Graves - 07/5/23 07:00 AM

In general, companies can take two approaches to calculating risk exposure, a quantitative approach and a qualitative one. There are pluses and...

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Resource loading vs. resource leveling and how to calculate it

Eric Graves - 06/5/23 03:10 PM

Resource loading is a critical project metric. Get it wrong and you could inadvertently commit to a seriously unrealistic project launch date....

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10 tips for running a daily standup meeting

Paul DeLong - 04/5/23 07:06 PM

Running a daily standup meeting seems pretty simple right? After all it’s just another meeting. Well not really. The daily stand-up process is...

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Cost of delay: how to calculate it

Eric Graves - 03/5/23 04:13 PM

Here is a simple formula for quickly estimating Cost of Delay: the profit lost per-month of delay.

Total COD = Lost Month Cost + Peak Reduction Cost.

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8 Types of risk and risk management investment

Eric Graves - 12/5/22 08:57 PM

8 Types of risk 

In order to examine risk exposure and uncertainty in greater detail, let's look at the different types of risks --uncertain events...

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Risk drivers and 5 whys

Eric Graves - 11/5/22 09:58 PM

We begin the analysis phase and look at risk drivers and the 5 Whys technique - a simple and powerful technique for discovering the root of the...

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Agile principle 2: welcoming changing requirements

Eric Graves - 10/5/22 05:22 PM

Agile principle 2: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.

Software and hardware product development teams share important...

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Product Development and Golf: An Analogy for Success

Eric Graves - 10/17/19 02:59 PM

Golf. It’s a wonder anyone ever keeps playing. Sure, the greens are often in captivatingly beautiful locations. The views, fresh air and time with...

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6 Tips for Implementing Critical Chain Project Management

Elyssa Pallai - 08/8/19 11:30 AM

Accelerating product delivery has a direct impact on the profitability of your business. And because our number one raison d'etre is to get you to...

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Get Lean and Agile for Free

Elyssa Pallai - 07/11/19 01:02 PM

A couple of weeks ago we shared some Lean and Agile case studies that demonstrated how the benefits of implementing Playbook methods and tools far...

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Six Steps to Visual Work Management and Self-Empowered Teams

David Paulson - 04/12/19 11:40 AM

Self-empowered teams is a common goal for many companies. But most of the people we talk to feel it’s only a dream, or requires too much work to...

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Risk Mitigation Strategy (Part 2)

Eric Graves - 03/12/19 10:05 PM

What is a risk mitigation strategy?

Mitigating a risk essentially means deliberately doing something to reduce risk exposure - to burn down the...

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7 Lean Principles of Lean Project Management

Elyssa Pallai - 03/6/19 06:26 PM

Projects are late one day at a time. So, ask yourself, do you and your team know the number one priority for today? Why does speed matter? Because...

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4 Lean Product Development Trends Worth Watching

Elyssa Pallai - 03/6/19 06:18 PM

You pretty much have to have your head in the sand not to notice the changes in hardware product design innovation and new product development that...

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Lean Case Study: Milwaukee Valve

Elyssa Pallai - 03/5/19 05:30 PM

Milwaukee Valve won big implementing Playbook software and Lean project management. This Lean case study demonstrates how Lean transformation can...

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Daily Standup

Paul DeLong - 02/28/19 04:54 PM

A daily standup meeting or scrum meeting is a daily 15-min long meeting where each person spends a few minutes preparing, a few minutes discussing...

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Best Books on Lean, Agile and Theory of Constraints

Elyssa Pallai - 02/28/19 03:35 PM

Here is our combined list of the three topic areas. More details are below.

  • Managing the Design Factory, by Donald G. Reinertsen
  • The Principles of...
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Risk Management Process

Eric Graves - 02/26/19 09:00 PM

Risk management has four steps. It is cyclical, and each risk, issue, question, and opportunity is put through the process as quickly as possible....

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Shared Project Buffers

Paul DeLong - 02/25/19 01:15 PM

What is a shared project buffer?

To accommodate for the uncertainty in the work estimates and the resource’s availability to do the work, the...

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Effective Task management

Eric Graves - 02/20/19 12:15 PM

A lot has been said over the last several years about the fallacy of increased productivity when a person multitasks. Lean, Agile, and the Theory of...

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Risk identification and risk capture

Eric Graves - 02/19/19 08:35 PM

The first step in risk management is identifying risks and capturing them in a risk management spreadsheet. In risk identification and capture teams...

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Decentralized Project Management

Paul DeLong - 02/19/19 05:37 PM

This is the ninth part in our in-depth series on Lean Agile project management.

We've covered a variety of Lean principles that have a direct impact...

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Risk Mitigation Strategy

Eric Graves - 02/19/19 05:30 PM

Defining Risk Drivers

Product development is a risky business. So how do you effectively minimize the impact of risks on your project? In short, you...

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Push vs. Pull

Eric Graves - 02/12/19 02:00 PM

What is the difference between push vs pull?

In a pull system, teams pull tasks from the backlog. As opposed to a push system where work is pushed...

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Resource Management

Eric Graves - 02/4/19 03:09 PM

This is the fifth part of our series on Lean Project Management. In this post, we look at resource management. 

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Lean Project Management Principles

Elyssa Pallai - 01/30/19 11:57 AM

A fundamental principle of Lean is smooth, continuous flow. Flow is achieved by eliminating turbulence caused when the flow through any process is...

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Definition of Done (DoD) and Why It's Critical to Your Project's Success

Elyssa Pallai - 01/29/19 04:00 PM

The best project managers know the devil is in the details and communication between team members is the oil in the engine that makes project...

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How to Create Highly Engaged Product Development Teams

Elyssa Pallai - 01/23/19 03:55 PM

Our mission is to help engineers love their jobs. It’s what we do. So what makes people love their jobs?

Gallup gathered data from over a million...

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Lean Project Management Methods and Principles

Eric Graves - 01/17/19 01:12 PM

This is the second part of our series on Lean Agile Project Management.

In Part 1 we recognized that one of the primary drivers of success in product...

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Lean Project Management

Eric Graves - 01/9/19 06:55 PM

Feeling like you are using the wrong tools to achieve your product development goals?

This is Part 1 of a series of posts on Lean Project Management

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8 Ways to Decrease Risk in Project Decisions

Eric Graves - 01/8/19 06:30 PM

So how do you increase certainty in project decisions. In part we can increase certainty by increasing the accuracy of our impact estimates. 

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ROI of Risk Management

Eric Graves - 01/1/19 09:47 PM

The Return on Investment in project risk management is high, and therefore worth the effort.

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Procurement Strategy That Works

Eric Graves - 12/4/18 05:23 PM

Shipment delays in product development happen. Packages get lost or dropped off at the wrong location. As a result projects can get delayed more than...

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Cost of Delay Project Model Examples

Eric Graves - 11/27/18 06:43 PM

Project Modeling: Project Management Decisions Based on Profit

How do you make project decisions based on their impact on profit? Here are some...

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Cost of Delay and Project Modeling

Eric Graves - 11/20/18 04:39 PM

In order to make project decisions such as whether or not to add a new feature, we need an economic model. Cost of Delay is one input into this...

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2 Visual Management Software Must Have Features

Elyssa Pallai - 10/23/18 04:54 PM

The purpose of visual work management software is, among other things, to make knowledge work visible so that it can be effectively managed.


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Top 10 Benefits of Lean Project Management

Elyssa Pallai - 09/25/18 11:11 AM

In this post I want to step back from the details in the series on the underlying principles and why they are so important and instead take a quick...

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Cost of Delay: How to Calculate It - Free Excel spreadsheet

David Paulson - 09/18/18 07:01 PM

The goal of developing new products is profit. And even though we intuitively know it's important to get to market sooner, do you really understand...

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11 Signs You Need to Look at Lean and Agile Project Management

Elyssa Pallai - 08/9/18 04:31 PM

Taking a product from idea to launch is not a simple task. Projects are complex and when you are dealing in the world of hardware development, you...

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Lean Agile Project Management (Part 2): Which Lean practices deliver the highest ROI?

Eric Graves - 07/19/18 05:47 PM

Feeling like you are using the wrong tools to achieve your product development goals?

This is Part 2 of a series of posts on Lean product...

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What is Lean Project Management?

Eric Graves - 07/17/18 11:48 AM

Feeling like you are using the wrong tools to achieve your product development goals?

This is Part 1 of a series of posts on Lean Project Management...

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5 Lean Project Management Tips

Elyssa Pallai - 05/16/18 12:37 PM

Did you know traditional methods of project management supported by software products like Microsoft Project have been around for over 50 years?...

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What is Project Risk Management

Eric Graves - 04/3/18 05:45 PM

While on a recent trip to New Zealand to ramp up a new client, I took a little time after work to see some sights. Coincidently, I was also...

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5 Principles of Lean Project Management

Eric Graves - 03/8/18 12:00 PM

I recently read the new book Team of Teams – New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, by General Stanley McChrystal. I’d like to share some of my...

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7 Principles of Lean Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 03/1/18 05:45 AM

What are the key principles of Lean product development?  Here are seven, that if applied correctly, can transform your product development process.  

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8 Tips for Adopting Lean Project Management

Eric Graves - 02/8/18 06:00 PM

Achieving project flow is what enables project teams to have greater confidence task completion and launch dates. At Playbook, we have found that...

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Playbook Knowledge Center: Lean Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 11/14/17 04:48 PM

At Playbook it's our mission to help you change the world faster! So, we have a number of free resources available on our website to help you on your...

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Architectural Runway and WSJF

Eric Graves - 10/24/17 03:33 PM

What is an architectural runway?

Designing a new product with an architectural runway means supporting the business' ability to "land" new features...

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Don Reinertsen: Ideas That May Change Your Approach To Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 10/17/17 04:41 PM

Got time to read a book? Lately, neither do I. That's why I was very excited to find these 8 short video interviews with Don Reinertsen. In minutes,...

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Innovation and New Product Development: Elon Musk on becoming a multiplanet species

Elyssa Pallai - 10/5/17 05:34 PM

Elon Musk wants you to be inspired. He wants you to be inspired by the future. To him, an inspired future means we are a multiplanet species...

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So you want to change the world?

Elyssa Pallai - 08/31/17 07:32 PM

Remember when you wanted to be a super hero?

Not like Superman, but someone who changed the world with great ideas that became cool products. A...

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6 Habits of Highly Successful Lean Product Development Teams

Elyssa Pallai - 08/15/17 04:01 PM
We left school thinking we were going to change the world and then reality hit. The fact is new product development is a complex undertaking, full of...
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Where is My (Tesla) Model 3?: Or how manufacturing works by Elon Musk

Elyssa Pallai - 08/3/17 05:28 PM

Where is my Model 3? Apparently Tesla customers are still asking Elon Musk this very question. (He just released the keys to new 30 owners 4 days...

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Innovation and Lean Product Development: Mars anyone?

Elyssa Pallai - 06/27/17 03:59 PM

Technology and innovation is alluring, mystical. And as such, once you’ve worked in an innovative company, with the innovative people that come with...

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Guide to Lean Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 06/6/17 03:16 PM

Know your current product development process could use a few tweaks or maybe a total overhaul, but don’t know where to start?

We’ve pulled together...

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4 Ways to Ensure your Product Development Initiative Won't Fail

David Paulson - 04/30/17 12:00 PM

The first attempt to implement Lean product development is critical. If you don’t get it right, there will be more resistance on the next attempt....

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Lean Product Development: Barriers to Adoption

David Paulson - 04/27/17 05:00 PM

I often hear companies use the excuse that their culture is preventing them from adopting Lean product development, or making other positive changes....

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Lean Principles

David Paulson - 04/25/17 05:00 PM

In my previous blog post I introduced two of Don Reinertsen’s books and explained how they contained dozens and dozens of great ideas around Lean and...

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Lean and Agile Lessons That Make Parenting Easier (Really!)

David Paulson - 04/20/17 04:00 PM

My last blog post was about an example of great packaging design from Girl Scout Cookies, and I pointed out that we can learn Lean and Agile lessons...

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6 Ideas for Transforming Your Approach to Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 04/14/17 05:51 PM

Effective product development teams are proactive learners. They thrive on change and active discovery and problem solving. In this environment, the...

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Lean Product Development: Where in the world should you begin?

David Paulson - 04/13/17 05:15 PM

In the previous two blogs I made a compelling case for Lean Product Development being the business opportunity of the century, and then gave an...

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Lean Product Development Case Study

David Paulson - 03/16/17 05:30 PM

In this post, I want to share an incredible case study that demonstrates the unexpected results that can be achieved when you apply the proper set of...

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Lean Case Study: Grid Solutions Company

Elyssa Pallai - 03/7/17 08:52 PM

Lean Case Study: Grid Solutions

"...Playbook added that catalytic capability to use all the other pieces in the right way."
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What is Cost of Delay?

Elyssa Pallai - 02/28/17 05:15 PM

What is Cost of Delay?

The Cost of Delay is the amount of money it will cost the company if a product launch is delayed. It’s a metric you need to...
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Visual Project Management Software: Create flow and innovate

Elyssa Pallai - 01/12/17 05:00 PM

As engineers we are empowered to create great things - develop innovations that change the world. In order to make these innovations a reality, we...

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Top 7 Benefits of Visual Management Software

Elyssa Pallai - 01/6/17 11:15 PM

7 Benefits of Visual Project Management Software

Visual work management is critical to speeding up your new product development projects. If your new...
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Project Risk Management: Where is the Bull in Your Risk Management Process?

Elyssa Pallai - 01/3/17 03:46 PM

This is a guest post by Kathy Morrissey from Strategy 2 Market, a Playbook partner that specializes in new product development consulting for medical...

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Lean and Agile? Yes, it's both in hardware development!

David Paulson - 12/15/16 05:55 PM

Lean and Agile in Hardware Development

There seems to be some confusion about which works best for the hardware development process. This makes...

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Setting a target launch date (project baseline) too early is a recipe for project delays

Eric Graves - 11/3/16 04:31 PM

Lean methods and Agile principles recognize that it’s almost impossible to get anything absolutely right the first time. Testing and iterating are...

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The invisible, nefarious cause of project delays …!

David Paulson - 10/27/16 05:11 PM

Lean Project Management - The Cause of Project Delays

In a previous blog post, I mentioned how electronic lean/agile/kanban visual project management...

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Visual Management - Return on Investment

David Paulson - 10/6/16 04:20 PM

Visual Management

Visual management allows you to have tangible everyday conversations about the work in progress -- it makes work visible. It's such...

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Tips for Improving Your Hardware Development Process

Elyssa Pallai - 10/4/16 04:55 PM

Welcome to Playbook’s Three Lean Links. Innovating quickly is on the top of everyone's agenda. But streamlining your hardware development process to...

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What is Lean Product Development

Eric Graves - 09/21/16 03:34 PM

What is Lean Product Development?  The Lean landscape is confusing because there are many flavors of Lean. But here is our definition...

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What is Lean Project Management for Hardware?

Elyssa Pallai - 09/13/16 04:19 PM

What is Lean project management?

Lean is any process improvement that substantially improves the throughput of your system, sustainably.

So, it is...

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Cost of Delay - What it is, how to calculate it

Elyssa Pallai - 09/2/16 05:00 PM

What is cost of delay? Understanding Cost of Delay is the key to making product development decisions based on economic loss or gain. In fact, the...

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3 Articles on Innovation and Lean Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 08/25/16 04:30 PM

Welcome to Playbooks’s three Lean Product Development links. Innovation is on everyone's minds. It's a primary driver of company profit. Here are...

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Critical Chain Project Management - It's all about the team!

Paul DeLong - 07/26/16 04:30 PM

Great teams deliver great products. To win the game of product development, you need methods that inspire team thinking and teams that know how to...

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Free Lean Training

Elyssa Pallai - 07/7/16 05:39 PM

Looking to create flow and improve your delivery timelines? In this post we share free Lean training resources, including our on-demand webinar...

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The Rise of the Robots

Elyssa Pallai - 06/24/16 07:40 PM

This post is a bit off the topic of Lean, but totally on topic for everyone interested in integrated product development. The changes taking place...

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3 Tips for a Successful Lean Transformation

Paul DeLong - 06/23/16 04:41 PM

Whether you’re trying to quit biting your nails, snacking late at night, or transforming your culture to Lean, change is tough. For the latter it...

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Lean visual project management software

Elyssa Pallai - 06/16/16 04:37 PM

Let’s face it, Lean project management isn’t a topic that drums up a whole lot of interest in social settings. 

This is generally what happens when I...

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Visual Project Management Software: Play the game and see what you've been missing!

David Paulson - 06/2/16 06:39 PM

Does this sound familiar? Intuitively you know visual project management software is worth the investment, but how do you effectively communicate the...

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Lean Case Study: Spectranetics

Elyssa Pallai - 05/19/16 11:30 AM

Lean Case Study: Spectranetics

At Playbook we are always looking for innovative ways to make projects move forward faster, while increasing project...

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Building great product development teams

Elyssa Pallai - 05/17/16 06:05 PM

So what makes a great product development team? Here are three Lean links that will make you rethink your approach to "team!"

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New Thinking in Lean Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 04/23/16 11:00 AM

Looking for some new material on Lean thinking? This week we have a smorgasbord of big ideas from Don Reinertsen, Michael Balle and the Lean...

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Implementing Lean in the Enterprise: Case Studies from LPPDE

Elyssa Pallai - 04/19/16 12:08 PM

This is a guest post by Richard Lindstrom from eBOM, a Playbook partner based in Sweden. Richard attended the LPPDE conference in Raleigh, North...

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Lean Product Development: Why did we focus on the wrong end of the value chain...?

David Paulson - 04/5/16 06:13 PM

Lean Product Development Value Chain

Manufacturers have known for years that one of the primary tenets of Lean is to identify what the customer...

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eBook: Applying Agile to Hardware Product Development

Elyssa Pallai - 03/25/16 04:58 PM

Due to the popularity of our blog series on Applying Agile to hardware new product development projects, we decided to create an easily shareable...

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Project Risk and Project Objectives

Eric Graves - 03/17/16 05:11 PM

Project Risk and Project Objectives

Evaluating risks starts by defining and understanding a project’s objectives. If there aren’t any objectives,...

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Lean Product Development: Project Risk

Elyssa Pallai - 03/8/16 04:40 PM

This week we look at project risk and embracing uncertainty. Is a project team's ability to embrace uncertainty the key to success? After reading...

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Why do new product development differently? Get the eBook!

Elyssa Pallai - 02/17/16 06:15 PM

In this post we explore why it's time to do product development differently and introduce you to an apporach that works, Exploratory PD® (ExPD). ExPD...

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Lean Product Development: Prioritizing Work and Task Management

Elyssa Pallai - 02/5/16 06:54 PM

Are you firefighting and multitasking to stay on top of your work? Are you wondering how to establish clear, correct and common priorities in your...

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Lean Product Development Links: Stimulating Creativity and Innovation

Elyssa Pallai - 01/20/16 09:15 PM

Creativity and Innovation

Looking to stimulate more innovation and agile problem solving in your organization? This week we explore methods for...

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8 Lean Project Management Principles to Increase Project Velocity

Elyssa Pallai - 01/7/16 06:00 PM

It makes sense that if you increase speed to market, you increase profit. Unfortunately, organizations are struggling to move hardware development...

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PLAYBOOK's Lean Product Development Links: December 11th

Elyssa Pallai - 12/11/15 10:47 PM

Welcome to PLAYBOOK’s blog series: Three Lean Product Development Links. This week we cut straight to the chase with the three most popular blog...

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PLAYBOOK's Lean Product Development Links: November 6th, 2015

Elyssa Pallai - 11/6/15 06:32 PM

Welcome to PLAYBOOK’s blog series: Three Lean Product Development Links. To deliver a great product, you need a great team. This week's Lean Links...

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With Lean Product Development You Need A Plan!

Elyssa Pallai - 10/22/15 09:35 PM

This is a guest post by Therese Graff from Strategy 2 Market, a Playbook partner about the importance of planning in Lean product development....

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11 Tips for Implementing Lean Project Management

Eric Graves - 07/14/15 08:01 PM

I heard recently some people in software development were proposing that there be ‘no projects’, because ‘projects’ create batches and stifle project...

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Lean Product Innovation: Interview with David Paulson

Elyssa Pallai - 03/24/15 10:01 AM

Lean Innovation Interview with David Paulson

David Paulson, our CEO was recently interviewed by

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LPPDE Europe 2014 Day 3

Elyssa Pallai - 01/1/15 02:11 PM

Our value added reseller, eBOM, based in Sweden is attending LPPDE Europe and has shared some interesting images and insights into what’s happening...

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Visual Management: Strategy 2 Market Gets Lean with Playbook

Elyssa Pallai - 01/1/15 02:06 PM

This is a guest post from Strategy 2 Market, a Playbook partner based in Chicago. Strategy 2 Market provides Lean New Product Development consulting...

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Lean Case Study: Uncovering Risks Early

Elyssa Pallai - 12/31/14 10:59 AM

This is a guest post by Mary Drotar from Strategy 2 Market, a Playbook partner that specializes in new product development consulting for medical...

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LPPDE Europe 2014, Copenhagen

Elyssa Pallai - 06/3/14 12:50 PM

Our value added reseller, eBOM, based in Sweden is attending LPPDE Europe and has shared some interesting images and insights into what's happening...

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Lean Startup Methodology and Early Learning

Eric Graves - 05/20/14 05:49 PM

The series explores the relationship between Lean Startup Principles, Knowledge Based Product Development, and Project Risk Management, and how they...

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Cost of Delay and Strategic Advantage

Eric Graves - 02/1/14 09:26 PM

Uncertainty in Product Development

Gaining a strategic advantage through statistics and mathematical analysis is changing the game of product...

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Audible Ready - Lean Project Management

David Paulson - 10/22/13 09:10 AM

Welcome to Playbook's's blog, Lean and Agile product development blog. Running projects requires the ability to adapt to new information quickly and...

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