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Lean Product and Process Development, 2nd Edition
by Allen C. Ward and Durward K. Sobek II
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"The P-51 Mustang—perhaps the finest piston engine fighter ever built—was designed and put into flight in just a few months. Specifications were finalized on March 15, 1940; the airfoil prototype was complete on September 9; and the aircraft made its maiden flight on October 26. Now that is a lean development process!" 

—Allen Ward and Durward Sobek, commenting on the development of the P-51 Mustang and its exemplary use of trade-off curves. 

Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award recipient, 2008

Despite attempts to interpret and apply lean product development techniques, companies still struggle with design quality problems, long lead times, and high development costs. To be successful, lean product development must go beyond techniques and technologies, conventional concurrent engineering methods, standardized engineering work, and heavyweight project managers. 

In the truly groundbreaking first edition of Lean Product and Process Development, Allen Ward showed the way. He delivered—with passion and penetrating insights that cannot be found elsewhere—a comprehensive view of lean principles for developing and sustaining product and process development.  

In this second edition, Durward Sobek, professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Montana State University—and one of Ward’s premier students—edits and reorganizes the original text to make it more accessible and actionable.  

This new edition builds on the first by:

  • Adding five in-depth and inspiring case studies.
  • Including insightful new examples and illustrations.
  • Updating concepts and tools based on recent developments in product development.
  • Expanding the discussion around the critical concept of set-based concurrent engineering.
  • Adding a detailed table of contents and an index, to make the book more accessible and user-friendly.

The True Purpose of Product Development

Ward’s core thesis is that the very aim of the product development process is to create profitable operational value streams, and that the key to doing so predictably, efficiently, and effectively is to create useable knowledge.

Creating useable knowledge requires learning. Ward presented a basic learning model for development. He not only described the technical tools needed to make lean product and process development actually work, but also delineated the management system, management behaviors, and mental models needed.

In his breakthrough text, Ward:

  • Asked fundamental questions about the purpose and “value added” in product development so you gain a crystal clear understanding of essential issues.
  • Showed you how to find the most common forms of “knowledge waste” that plagues product development.
  • Identified four “cornerstones” of lean product development gleaned from the practices of successful companies like Toyota and its partners, and explains how they differ from conventional practices.
  • Gave specific, practical recommendations for establishing your own lean development processes.
  • Melded observations of effective teamwork from his military background, engineering fundamentals from his education and personal experience, design methodology from his research, and theories about management and learning from his study of history and experiences with customers.
  • Changed your thinking forever about product development.


Lean Product Development Mind MapLean Process Development Mind Map
Rick Torchia of Aera Energy has generously shared his comprehensive mind map covering the innovative approach to product and process development presented by the late Al Ward in his breakthrough text, Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD)(LEI ©2006). In LPPD, Ward turned his exhaustive research and intimate understanding of the product and process development approach at Toyota into a practical guide for both veterans of lean and traditional new product development systems. In his mind map, Rick identifies the 15 major organizing principles of the book and then systematically connects each of these principles to the "how to" components found in each section of LPPD.


Publisher:  Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.
ISBN-13:  978-1-934109-43-4
SKU:  9434
Publication Date:  March 5, 2014
Number of Pages:  349
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Allen C. Ward, PhD

Al, an original pioneer into lean product development and how Toyota practiced it, was a leading U.S. researcher, practitioner, and thinker about lean product development. He developed a new design theory called set-based design that simultaneously explored multiple solutions for every subsystem of both product and manufacturing systems. He found engineers at Toyota practicing a form of set-based design and began years of researching the company’s development practices with Durward Sobek, PhD.  Later, as assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, Al’s paper on Toyota's development processes received a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Awardas did his breakthrough book, Lean Product and Process Development.

He was the president of Ward Synthesis, Inc., a company that designed and built electro-mechanical systems, design automation software; and provided training product and process design methods. He was a member of the executive committee of the National Academies of Science and Engineering's Board on Army Science and Technology. Al served for 10 years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of Captain, completing airborne and combat leadership training at the Army’s Ranger school in Ft. Benning, GA.

Al held bachelors’ degrees from the University of Oregon and University of Hawaii in history and mechanical engineering, respectively. He also held master’s and doctorate degrees from MIT. Sadly we lost Al in May of 2004.

Durward K. Sobek II, PhD

Durward is a professor and program coordinator of industrial engineering at Montana State University and co-founder of the nonprofit Lean Product and Process Development Exchange, Inc.

He is co-author with Allen C. Ward of Lean Product and Process Development, 2nd edition, and co-author of Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System, which received a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award.  For over a decade, Durward has researched lean product development and lean principles, focusing on how organizations can use them to increase performance capacity.  A frequent conference presenter, he also has published numerous articles in publications such as Harvard Business ReviewSloan Management Review, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management

He holds a doctor's and master's degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor's degree in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College.

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