Sometimes careful prudent designs are the only ones that can succeed. I am thinking of the medical field in particular where history has shown that some things rushed to market cause more problems than they cure. There are also documented cases where negative results have been altered or hidden in order to get a product to market first.
Lawyers love those cases where steps have been skipped and it does not matter if 99% plus have been successful, some attorney somewhere will find case # 1000 and illuminate the missing step.
What we found worked very well has been to have an idea and then share it with a group of (very qualified) people who are able to both identify problems and provide both additional insight and valid solutions. So we would talk for a couple of hours in the morning and then a couple more hours later that day. At this point we would have a fairly detailed description which we would pass on to both marketing and sales people. The following week we would get feedback, and then discuss just what changes were needed or not needed.
The big difference is that we were all interested in having a product that was successful, since that was not only an ego reward, but also would be resulting in a financial reward. OUr management would routinely reward successes, which did have a quite positive effect on moral. And all of us understood that the project success depended on all of it working well, rather than empire protection.
So the short explanation is that success comes from having a very good team working togather as a very good team.
Wait a minute now. Design discipline is always couched on what is known at the moment. Novelty evolves from an inspired thought, not always conditioned by market forces nor by the profit motive...history should have taught us that.
What if the innovator is both designer AND engineer, surely there is no need to go the route suggested by Tom since the prototype will be more than good enough?...Just thoughts
In the Dilbertesque world we work in minimizing risk doesn't pay. Say a market niche opens and half a dozen companies start developing a product for it. Company O uses an orderly design process minimizing risk at all steps and eventually comes up with a good product. Unfortunately the other companies rush their development processes and take extreme risks by cutting corners. Most of these companies products fail. But it is likely one or two of the risky programs will succeed and beat company O to market.
Careful prudent design practices have become the path to mediocrity.
"When critical preliminary steps are skipped, they can't be magically introduced at a later stage. In this case, usability research, criteria definition, and ideation exploration activities had been skipped over, and the group went straight to engineering to test an early concept. It can be painful to do the development process over if you skip steps."
Tom, now a day's technologies are moving/changing at a fast phase, so there won't be enough time to hang around for either market study or requirement gathering. So companies would prefer to complete all the cycles within a short span of time and to productize the technology
I worked for a place where the Design Reviews reminded you of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"; someone had to be stoned to death. Rather than discussing what went right or wrong with the project, and maybe sharing resources for the next project, the review simply berated and bullied the engineers involved in the project with screaming insults and obscenities. The reviews were so brutal, it was the only reason why I left an otherwise enjoyable company.
I worked at a company where one of the engineers believed that a good design review meeting was one that left 'blood on the floor'. He also believed that you should not be in love with your design, or this review could be crushing to your ego. Upper Management was one of the owners, whose main criteria was that whoever shouted loudest was right. A lot of time and money were wasted on far-fetched ideas that ought to have been discarded.
Tom- you have summarized great points that need to be reiterated again and again. Not only to a small teams working on entrepreneurial concepts, but even to well establish Large-Cap firms who have been thru the process multiple times. Frequently, new managers, trying to outshine their predecessors for the glory of the spotlight, are eager to skip critical steps in interest of "The Schedule". Speaking from experience, the last (4) major electronics projects I've developed have all failed to ship, either because Marketing pushed thru a half-baked idea which didn't sell, or because Program Management's scheduling rushed past critical steps, and the end result failed. There are dozens of opportunities to fail, and only a disciplined, experienced team can navigate them all successfully.
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