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Research & Publications

Research & Publications is a growing collection of case studies, presentations, research reports and other resources focusing on product development, R&D, and innovation management.  These concise reports provide practitioner insights, company examples, benchmarks and thought-leading viewpoints. 

MRT's FastTrack is the leading network of industry practitioners responsible for new product development, technology development, and business development from all industries. Access to the full content of the following articles is for members of Management Roundtable FastTrack. Memberships are offered to individuals on an annual basis for just $495.  For more information on joining FastTrack click here.

To see all the material available in this knowledge repository, use the search engine, click on focus topic, or see our most recent updates below.

Intersolv Stays Ahead of the Pack with Tailored Software Development Cycle Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-06-02

Intersolv created a rapid software development process that enables each team to tailor the map to meet project needs. Intersolv’s eight-phase process, facilitated by a software development lifecycle champion, establishes discipline – without hamstringing the team. This report provides nuts and bolts detail about the inner workings of agile development processes. (6 pages)

Chaos Engineering Powers Conceptronic to Market Leadership Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-06-02

As development timeframes shrink, some environments can no longer afford to follow “classical” development processes with phases and gates, formal metrics, and design reviews. Conceptronic, a manufacturer of reflow ovens for PCBs, has pioneered CHAOS Engineering. CHAOS, an acronym for Complex Highly-Associative Ordered System, is a flexible process that generates a complex web of inter-relations between functions, suppliers and customers. Within this web, project leaders are free to draw on whatever resources and staffing they need to meet project needs. (5 pages)

Creating a Fast and Flexible Process: Empirical Research Suggests Keys to Success Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-06-02

Is a good project one that delivers to the spec or one that delivers to the market? Research conducted by Harvard Business School's Alan MacCormack suggests that most development processes seek to eliminate uncertainty, rather than learning how to deal with it. According to MacCormack, in an agile process, the very first question is "What type of uncertainty do we face?" He argues that the first phase of a project should not be concerned with product design but with process design. (5 pages)

Intermec Steams to Market with Fast Prototyping Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-06-01

High-tech hardware creator, Intermec, used a combination of time-compression technologies, concurrent product development teams, and customer-reviewed prototypes, to rewrite their product development process – and slice six months off of a twenty-four month cycle time. By stressing concurrency as a process, as opposed to a technology, Intermec demonstrates the value of throwing away the rule book when you want to make a fresh start. (6 pages)

Designing for LeanSigma Helps Hubbell Change the Game Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-05-19

Hubbell Premise Wiring, developers of an array of products in the telecommunications industry, created a game-changing new offering in a technology that has not changed in 80 years. Along the way, they also slashed their product development cycle from around 20 months to 11 months. They achieved this by applying Design for LeanSigma within a highly motivated team. This report, authored by participants in this effort, presents an overview of how Hubbell applied LeanSigma principles in three areas: Voice of the Customer, Design Kaizen and Production Preparation. (5 pages)

Blending Six-Sigma with Lean Thinking: Lockheed Martin Astronautics Develops Rigorous Training Program for Process Improvement Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-05-19

Six-Sigma has its origins in the effort to achieve extremely low defect rates. Lean tools, meanwhile, focus on eliminating waste. Implementing one without the other risks the failure to optimize resources. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Astronautics Operations, working in conjunction with other Lockheed companies, minimized this risk by adopting its own high-octane blend of Six-Sigma methodologies and Lean concepts. The Company established a tiered training program that certifies “green belts” and “black belts” in a core set of process improvement practices at various levels of the organization. Through the evolution of its six-sigma and lean process program, Astronautics has laid a well-documented foundation for applying its experience to product design and development. (6 pages)

We're Off to See the Wizard: Hi-Stat's "Wizard of WOW" (War on Waste) Conjures Lean Approach Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-05-19

Hi-Stat, a $116M manufacturer of switches, sensors and valves for automotive applications, has developed a robust waste reduction/continuous improvement program that saved the company as much as $10M over a five year period. A major factor in the success of Hi-Stat’s Lean approach has been an internal marketing campaign they called “War On Waste” or “WOW.” This program – involving a slogan and even an official mascot, "the Wizard of WOW" – combined accountability, employee recognition, and clear and highly visible symbols and messages, which yielded an extraordinary degree of employee buy-in and significant momentum toward Lean Thinking and continuous improvement. (7 pages)

Process Design for Internal Customers: Powell Electrical Lean Initiative Aligns Functions, Improves Manufacturability and Reduces Cycle Time Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-05-19

Having a Lean organization is about much more than rationalizing processes or inventory reduction. When Lean becomes an integral part of an organization it can have a significant impact on manufacturability as an embedded product characteristic. Powell Electrical used Lean Thinking to design a process that created efficiencies in both the back and the front end of product development. Powell's Lean initiative also had an effect on customization and Design for Manufacturability.Powell’s experience suggests that an important aspect of Lean Product Development is learning the concerns of downstream customers – both internal and external. (7 pages)

Integrating Design for Lean Six Sigma and High Performance Organizations: Addressing both the Technical and the Human Sides of Improvement Locked

Research | Posted: 2004-05-19

Tom Devane, a veteran of numerous implementations of Lean and Six-Sigma, observes that the results obtained with these tools are highly variable. According to Devane, the key to reducing this variability is to address the human as well as the technical side of process improvement. To this end, Devane advocates a blend of High Performance Organizations (HPOs) with the Lean Six Sigma tool set. Devane’s reports that many of the most successful and sustainable Six Sigma implementations employ a mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ approaches to continuous improvement. (6 pages)

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