A method of designing products and services in which developers consider whole collections of ideas rather than a single idea. To do this, they do the following:
- Use trade-off curves and design guidelines to characterize (or describe) different designs known to be feasible, thus focusing the search for designs.
- Identify and develop several alternatives, and only jettison alternatives if they prove inferior or unfeasible.
- Design targets as a starting point, then the actual specifications and tolerances surface through analysis and testing.
- Delay selection of the final design or establish the final specifications only when the team knows enough to make a good decision.
This method provides important learning opportunities for the organization. It takes less time and, in the long run, less money than typical point-based development systems where a single design solution is chosen early in the development process, often leading to false starts, fixes and failed projects. Moreover, it hardly teaches the organization anything.