Tuesday, September 22, 2009

set-based engineering

Since research/design is often very risky, the Toyota Product Development system integrates several processes to manage the risk. They use strict time-boxing, with multiple parallel research tracks trying to succeed, and at the end of the time box they can choose from all successful options. Their lead engineers are responsible for not only technical success, but business success, and their engineers stay on the same team for a long time, and are expected to excel in their craft. The teams, and individuals, are given objectives but are not micromanaged.

Why isn't it waste to design things we won't use? It's because waste has to be regarded in context of the whole system--and failing to deliver an acceptable design is a much bigger waste than optimizing the whole.

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