Agile Product Development: Managing Development Flexibility in Uncertain Environments
Stefan Thomke; Donald Reinertsen
As product complexity and the rate of market change have dramatically increased over the last years, firms find it increasingly difficult to forecast product requirements in their development processes. This article redefines the problem from one of improving forecasting to one of increasing product development agility and thus reducing the need for accurate long-term forecasts. It introduces the notion of development flexibility, shows how it can be measured, and presents results from a large empirical study on integrated systems development, which found that projects using flexible technologies outperformed projects using inflexible technologies by a factor of 2.2 (in person-months). Finally, the article proposes three major strategies for introducing flexibility into organizations. These strategies can help firms increase their agility and position themselves to succeed in accelerating and more turbulent markets.
Create a PowerPoint presentation addressing the questions below. This week’s case analysis assignment will be completed individually.
- What is development flexibility and how is it different from manufacturing flexibility? Also, explain the difference between agility and flexibility of development.
- What are the challenges for implementing development flexibility?
- What are the approaches that the authors propose for increasing development flexibility? Which one will you prefer and explain your rationale with examples.
- Your recommendations for improving development flexibility – especially in the current context of vendor-driven development.