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Eric Graves

Aerospace and mechanical engineer turned NPD systems engineer, Eric spends his time engineering better product develop systems, using Playbook as his tool of choice!

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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...

What is Lean Product Development?

Lean is any process improvement that sustainably and systematically improves the throughput of a product development system.

What is Lean Methdolody?

There are many similar, yet different schools of Lean, each of which focus on various principles of Lean.

At a high level, the origin of Lean is the Toyota Production System (TPS), which focuses on customer needs (customer value), pull instead of push, and making work visible to the team with Obeya rooms. The Toyota Product Development System (TPDS) also looks at mitigating risks and fast learning (knowledge capture, problem-solving A3s, set-based development, etc.). 

The result is better products, delivered more quickly and consistently.

Agile Software Development is another example, and like TPDS focuses on customer needs and learning (iterative development) as well as visible work and pull (Scrum or Kanban boards). 

In addition to these schools of Lean, there are many off-shoots or like minded methodologies such as the Lean Startup movement, Critical Chain, and Product Development Flow that each shed light on some of these problems, and/or other problems not shown here. 

However, there is one common theme among these various schools – to improve the overall throughput of the system, sustainably, in ways other than just simply throwing more money and resources into it.

If you want a deeper dive into Lean product development and project management for hardware teams, check out our series of posts on the subject.


Read the series on Lean product development


If you want to know more about PLAYBOOK, a Lean visual project management tool that is purpose-built for hardware product the demonstration video.


Watch Demo Video