Case | HBS Case Collection | August 1998 (Revised February 1999)

Product Development at Dell Computer Corporation

by Stefan H. Thomke, Vish V. Krishnan and Ashok Nimgade


Describes how Dell redesigned its new product development process after experiencing a major product setback and a significant decline in firm profits in 1993. Dell's new process is challenged during the development of a new line of portable computers when the incoming head of portables has to manage the risk of using a new technology. This case focuses on: (1) product development process design, (2) the costs and benefits of flexibility and structure in uncertain environments, and, (3) managing development risk during and after a financial and market setback.

Keywords: Cost vs Benefits; Profit; Managerial Roles; Risk Management; Product Development; Business Processes; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty; Hardware; Computer Industry;


Thomke, Stefan H., Vish V. Krishnan, and Ashok Nimgade. "Product Development at Dell Computer Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 699-010, August 1998. (Revised February 1999.)