The Hidden Costs of Accelerated Product Development


  • C. Merle Crawford

Address correspondence to Professor C. Merle Crawford, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


Rarely has a strategic management option captured American industry as has the thrust of accelerated product development. When accompanied by the goals of lowered cost and increased new product quality, it seems almost unstoppable. However, industry may have been swept up in the enthusiasm. Any strategic option so tempting (with long lists of advantages and no suggested limitations) needs to be viewed critically. Merle Crawford reveals several “hidden costs” of accelerated development. He does not oppose the new strategy, and indeed endorses it highly, but urges that it be considered carefully before application. His analysis suggests that acceleration is far more widely applied than is good for any industrialized economic system.