Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules, New Tools consistently ranks this book among the three most popular product development titles. Over 100,000 copies are in use by management in many industries. consistently ranks this book among the three most popular product development titles. Over 100,000 copies are in use by management in many industries.

Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules, New Tools,
by Preston G. Smith and Donald G. Reinertsen, John Wiley & Sons, 1997, 298 pages.


Endorsements and Reviews

Versions and Languages

The strategies in Developing Products in Half the Time apply to companies of all sizes and industries including software and electronics, medical devices, machinery and vehicles, and consumer goods. The authors show how leading companies no longer depend on only a few isolated tools but now integrate a broad array of methods to gain synergy and greater competitive advantage.

This is the guide you will need in the trenches if time to market is important to you — or if you are wondering if it should be. It will be equally valuable to new readers and to those who must move beyond the original edition.

Chapter 1: Faster and Still Faster
Chapter 2: Putting a Price Tag on Time
Chapter 3: The Fuzzy Front End
Chapter 4: The Power and Pitfalls of Incremental Innovation
Chapter 5: Capturing Customer Needs
Chapter 6: Using System Design to Compress Schedules
Chapter 7: Forming and Energizing the Team
Chapter 8: Organizing for Communication
Chapter 9: Designing Fast Development Processes
Chapter 10: Controlling the Process
Chapter 11: Preventing Overloads
Chapter 12: Managing Risk Proactively*
Chapter 13: Bridging the R&D – Manufacturing Gap
Chapter 14: The Role of Top Management
Chapter 15: Making Changes Faster

* See discussion of the effect of project risk management on cycle time.


(By Neil Hagglund, Corporate VP and Director of Corporate Technology Planning, Motorola, Inc.)

Most of the readers of this book probably associate Motorola with quality. We have worked hard to achieve leadership in this area and are very proud of our accomplishments. However, customer expectations have increased and have never been higher. Our customers expect us to demonstrate flawless quality and provide leadership products with value-added features, at lower prices, in shorter and shorter cycle times. The companies that can respond to quickly changing needs will flourish and those that can’t, will be left behind. Time to market is a crucial element in being successful in the global marketplace.

For readers who are about to embark on the journey to faster development, let me offer a few observations. First, in my more than 30 years of product development experience, working with some of the best product developers in the world, I have yet to find a single magic tool for transforming a development process. Other companies may jump from fad to fad hoping there is a fast, easy way to accelerate product development. At Motorola we achieve rapid development the same way we achieved breakthroughs in quality-with old-fashioned hard work and constant management attention.

Second, many readers may wonder if pursuing development speed requires a company to compromise quality. At Motorola we have firmly rejected this option. There are abundant opportunities to improve the development process without taking the sloppy and dangerous approach of sacrificing quality. If you find yourself considering such options, you have not thought deeply enough about your choices. In fast-moving markets we often find that faster development actually provides higher quality to our customers, resulting in products delivered before customer needs begin to change.

Third, I would encourage you to question many of the deeply entrenched methods that you use for product development. Some of our greatest successes at Motorola have been a result of our engineers questioning the fundamental design of the entire process. This willingness to question the status quo proved vital to transforming quality and appears equally vital in transforming development speed.

Finally, I would encourage you to stay the course on this effort. The benefits of faster development can be substantial but they cannot be achieved instantly. Fundamental changes in your development process require careful analysis, broad involvement, and extensive effort. Not everything that is worth changing can be changed quickly. If you approach this as a short, quick journey you will not get very far.

On your journey I think you will find that Developing Products in Half the Time is an excellent companion. I am excited to see this new edition because at Motorola we found the original edition to be far and away the most useful book of its kind. The state-of-the-art in product development has continued to progress in the last six years and this new edition is very welcome. This book remains a vital resource for those of us interested in rapid development. I have read it more than once and I think you will too.

Endorsements and Reviews

Endorsements from the 1997 Second Edition:

“This is an exceptional book! Get a new highlighter before you start. There are so many ‘ah ha’s’ in each chapter you will never make it through with an old one.”
Don LaCombe,
Ford Motor Company, Product Development Process Leadership

“An excellent book with a strong treatment of the cycle-time consequences of overloading your development capacity. It provides powerful and practical concepts for dealing with this issue.”
Andrew Aquart,
Director Product Development, Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson Company

“This is practical, useful stuff for people competing in highly competitive fast moving business.”
Dr. Paul Borrill,
Chief Scientist, Sun Microsystems

“Using these tools we’ve more than cut our time to market in half. The new edition of this classic crystallizes the synergy of the fast-to-market techniques, and the icons in the margins highlight the opportunities and pitfalls.”
Mike Brennan,
Vice President of Product Development, Black & Decker

“3M has absorbed many of the tools from the original edition, and this new one will be even more useful. The topic of incremental innovation is crucial to us, and I really appreciate its balanced treatment.”
Ronald H. Kubinski,
Manager New Product Commercialization Services, 3M Company

“As the authors correctly point out, the Fuzzy Front End is the least expensive place to reduce cycle time. This book is one of the only sources of concepts, methods, and metrics for compressing this critical portion of the development process.”
David M. Lewis,
Product Manager, Eastman Kodak Co.

From the 1995 Updated Paperback Edition

“This is a guide that my colleagues and I refer to repeatedly as we accelerate our development process. I suggest reading it at least once; your competition probably has already!”
Mike Brennan,
Vice President of Product Development, Black & Decker

“It is no accident that we have bought thousands of copies of this book. It describes practical techniques that really work for shortening product development cycles. These real-world tools have moved our company to new levels of performance.”
Neil Hagglund,
Vice President & Director of Corporate Technology Planning, Motorola Inc.

“Of the many books that have appeared on rapid product development, Developing Products in Half the Time was most influential in forming 3M’s new corporate product development guidelines. Its clear, easy-to-read style further increases its impact.”
Dr. Ray N. Meyer,
Corporate Time Compression, 3M Company

From the Original 1991 Edition

“Provides the most complete step-by-step process for reducing new-product cycle time and is undoubtedly one of the finest books yet published on this subject. It should be required reading for any manager involved in new product development.”
Paul A. Noakes
Vice President and Director-External Quality Programs, Motorola, Inc.

“This book should be of particular value to anyone in a commercial electronics-based business. The authors have a useful “how-to” approach with lots of people-oriented suggestions. They provide simple but powerful concepts and treat areas that are often overlooked, such as the front end of the product cycle.”
Kent M. Black
Chief Operating Officer, Rockwell International

“The authors build on many successful quality-focused techniques of the ’80s to present a comprehensive and well-integrated coverage of time-based techniques for the ’90s. Their book should inspire you to adopt techniques that can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your product development process.”
Halbert M. Harris
Vice President-Product Delivery Process, Xerox Corporation

“The book provides important insights on further accelerating the product development process. Future success depends on exceeding customer expectations, and this requires responding quickly to customers with new, exciting, high-quality products.”
Lewis B. Campbell
Vice President, General Motors Corporation

“Smith and Reinertsen present a clear, direct approach to building fast product development capabilities. These capabilities are crucial for success in the modern health care industry.”
Stanley L. Robinson
Vice President-International Technical Operations, Johnson & Johnson

“Industry leadership is often determined by the ability to bring a growing array of new products to market quickly. Such new products are fundamental to the future well-being of both employees and shareholders. This is a practical guide to the techniques that work for acknowledged new-product leaders.”
Richard H. Campbell,
President Hardware and Home Improvement Group,
The Black & Decker Corporation

“This is a vital book for any company trying to get its entire organization behind its rapid product development efforts. It presents an extremely practical how-to approach. The insights on managing the front end of the process are excellent. Clearly, the most useful book I’ve read on this subject.”
Christopher C. Cole
Group Vice President, Cincinnati Milacron


In the Journal of Product Innovation Management

Versions and Languages

  • Original Edition, 1991, Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (ISBN 0-442-00243-2). This edition was summarized in 1991 by Executive Book Summaries and listed by them in 1995 as one of the 25 “Best of the Best” business books.
  • Updated Paperback Edition, 1995, Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (ISBN 0-442-02064-3). A customized version of this edition was published for Parametric Technology Corporation (ISBN 0-442-02509-2).
  • Second Edition (New Rules, New Tools subtitle added), 1998, originally published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (ISBN 0-442-02548-3), now published by John Wiley & Sons  (ISBN 0-471-29252-4).

The book is also available in other languages.

Obtaining It

Book Specifics

  • Title: Developing Products in Half the Time: New Rules, New Tools
  • Authors: Preston G. Smith and Donald G. Reinertsen
  • Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997
  • US$34.95 list price
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN)  0-471-29252-4

Where to Get It

  • Your public, company, or university library (but not if you follow Mr. LaCombe’s advice)
  • Your local book dealer (if they do not have it in stock, they can order it using the ISBN)
  • An online book service, such as, which is offers good service and price and has excellent service on orders from outside of the United States.
  • Ms. Denise Carrigg at John Wiley, +1 (415) 782-3210,, if you want the best price on 25 or more copies.

What is new since this book was published? Read our chapter in the PDMA Handbook.

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.