Improving product development through front-loading and enhanced iteration management

Cecilia Martínez, Jennifer A. Farris, Geert Letens

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Iteration is a central issue in the management of product development (PD) projects. Iteration is often recognized as a major source of increased PD lead-time and cost, a key driver of schedule risk, and a source of major uncertainties in the commitment of resources. However, iteration, when planned and managed effectively, can overcome the uncertainties inherent in interdependent development activities and thus, improve and accelerate PD projects. Based on case study insights, we argue that effective iteration management not only entails the elimination of unnecessary iterative loops due to ill-defined process structures but also a combination of iteration front-loading and iteration end-front separation. As such, this work complements the front-loading principles from the Lean PD literature by providing an alternative approach based upon improved iteration management. First, we use the design structure matrix to identify sets of iterative loops and then, we apply a binary ordering algorithm to front-load iterations within each loop set. Finally, we evaluate the process structure performance to quantify the iteration impact on the overall project completion time and identify the optimal PD process structure. The paper concludes with avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2011
Event61st Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: May 21 2011May 25 2011


Conference61st Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV


  • DSM
  • Front-loading
  • Iteration management
  • Product development process
  • Project management


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