Home > About Us> People> Durward Sobek
Durward Sobek

Durward Sobek

Professor and Program Coordinator of Industrial Engineering, Montana State University

Durward K. Sobek II is a Professor in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at Montana State University. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an A.B. degree in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College. 

Dr. Sobek has been researching lean product development and lean healthcare for nearly two decades, focusing on how organizations can increase their performance capacity through the application of lean principles.  He is co-founder of the not-for-profit Lean Product and Process Development Exchange, Inc. whose mission is to share and expand the body of knowledge around lean product and process development.  He is a frequent presenter, and has published numerous articles in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.  He is co-author of Lean Product and Process Development, 2nd edition; and is co-author of the Shingo Prize winning book Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System

Articles by Durward Sobek
Start Up By Diving Deep
"The important thing is answering some fairly core questions about your business before spending time and money developing solutions," write Jim Luckman and Durward Sobek. "It’s a totally different way of working, which is why it’s so rare.  " More »
Design Thinking for Lean Practitioners
"You don’t have to look very far to see that lean problem-solving has a reputation of perfecting something that already exists.  ..  " writes Durward Sobek. "But in reality, lean problem-solving simply REQUIRES innovation because you are continually reinventing your systems and as we do this, we want to improve rapidly, not slowly.  " More »
Frontloading Product Development
Anyone in product development is familiar with the agony of late-stage changes, sometimes called loopbacks. The common advice to head off this problem is to “frontload” the product development process. But what does frontload mean? Durward Sobek explains. More »
The Designer's Dilemma
Durward Sobek unpacks the "designer’s dilemma"—the situation wherein you have the MOST freedom to make decisions when you know the LEAST about the problem. Learn how set-based innovation and trade off curves can help. More »
Workshops Taught by Durward Sobek
Lean Upstream This one-day interactive session is designed to give participants critical insight into applying lean thinking upstream in the product lifecycle. Content will be organized around foundational principles, illustrated by examples from the Ford Motor Company whose legendary turnaround in recent years owes much to the transformation of their product development capability. More »