Doesn’t rapid product development mean that quality will suffer?

September 2000 Quick Tip

In our increasingly internetted world, information propagates faster and markets shift more rapidly. Consequently, many of our clients continue to shorten their product development cycles.

But speed has its dark side. Most of us have seen a development project go awry because it was rushed and important activities were skipped. More deeply, we have heard since childhood that “haste makes waste” and that “quick” leads to “dirty.” No wonder that we are suspicious about accelerating product development.

Fortunately, there is a bright side to speed: done well, speed is complementary to quality. When we dig into a specific project to see where its cycle time went, we discover that it vanished while waiting for resources, decisions, and information. When this happens, both speed and quality suffer. More time was wasted when work had to be redone due to poor communication or weak plans — again, a quality problem too.

It is no accident that many athletic events are races against time. A runner is able to win only when everything is in perfect condition: the training, the field, the equipment, and the runner’s health and diet. Runners who skip a few training sessions or skimp on coaching don’t win races.

Product development is the same: winning speeds are possible only when all conditions are carefully set up for the highest quality performance.

In fact, even if you do not need speed in every development project, speed is perhaps your best comprehensive measure that everything influencing your development process is operating at its highest quality level.

To pursue this topic, see our paper, “Reaping Benefit From Speed to Market

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