Donald G. Reinertsen


Reinertsen Enterprises, Inc.

Don Reinertsen is President of Reinertsen & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in improving the product development process.  For 30 years he has focused on creating fundamental changes in the way organizations develop products.

Before starting his own firm, he had extensive management consulting experience at McKinsey & Co., an international management consulting firm. He also had operating experience as Senior Vice President of Operations at Zimmerman Holdings, a private diversified manufacturing company.

Don's contributions in the field of product development are recognized internationally.  In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he wrote the landmark article in Electronic Business magazine that first quantified the value of development speed.  This article is believed by some observers to have triggered the movement to shorten development cycles in American industry. It is frequently cited as the McKinsey study that reported "six months delay can be worth 33 percent of life-cycle profits".  Don is also responsible for coining the term "Fuzzy Front End" to describe the critical early stage of product development and for the first practical application of queueing theory to development process design in 1991.

Don is well known for developing methods to quantify and manage the difficult trade-offs that must be made continuously in product development. He is currently considered one of the leading thinkers in the emerging field of Lean Product Development. His work is characterized by an unusual combination of economic rigor and practicality.

Don is the author or co-author of three best-selling books. In 1991 he coauthored Developing Products in Half the Time, a book that has become a product development classic. His 1997 book, Managing the Design Factory: A Product Developer's Toolkit, was the first book to describe how the principles of Just-in-Time manufacturing could be applied to product development. His latest award-winning book, The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development, has been praised as, “… quite simply the most advanced product development book you can buy.” He has also authored numerous articles that have appeared in publications such as Harvard Business Review, and The California Management Review.

He speaks internationally on product development topics, and taught executive courses for 15 years at California Institute of Technology. He currently teaches a popular course, called Second Generation Lean Product Development in the United States and numerous overseas locations.

Don holds a B.S. from Cornell University in Electrical Engineering, and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School.