Accelerating the Design-Build-Test Cycle

What are the advantages due to developing high-quality products rapidly for a firm?

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            Developing high-quality products rapidly results in the development of a competitive edge, especially in industries such as technology, electronics, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals (Wheelwright & Clark, 1994). The speedy development of high-quality products is at the heart of competitive advantage. Firms that have this capability have the luxury of commencing new product development at the same time as their competitors but introduce their product in the market sooner. They may also choose to take their time to acquire more knowledge and resources before beginning the development process, but introduce their new product at the same time as their competitors. Such firms may also use their resources to develop more new products that meet related customer needs.

What is meant by ‘framing the problem’?

            Problem framing refers to the process of providing a concrete description and the subsequent interpretation of a problem to better understand it (Swanson & Holton, 2005). It is an important step in the process of problem-solving since any slight changes or errors in framing results in an entirely different problem-solving process and outcomes. It is conducted in the design phase of the design-build-test cycle.

What can be done to minimize the number of design-build-test cycles?

            The number of design-build-test cycles depends on the extent to which activities at each problem-solving step are linked and integrated (Wheelwright & Clark, 1994). To minimize the number of cycles, the individual steps of the problem-solving process need to be executed rapidly and properly and linked successfully to come up with coherent solutions.

Which model of communication requires the least resources?

            The serial/batch mode of communication requires the least resources since the downstream group does not begin work until the upstream group finishes the design. There is only a one-shot transmission of information during the design exchange with the downstream group (Wheelwright & Clark, 1994).

Which model of communication may result in more costly mistakes?

            The early start in the dark model is likely to result in costly mistakes because of the period of confusion that the downstream group finds itself in after the upstream group brings in the completed design. This confusion may derail the process and result in a lot of mistakes.


Swanson, R. A., & Holton, E. F. (2005). Research in organizations: Foundations and methods in inquiry. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Wheelwright, S. C., & Clark, K. B. (1994). Accelerating the design-build-test cycle for effective product development. International Marketing Review, 11(1), 32-46.

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