There are many ways to understand and optimize the cost of the product or the project. Some of these are simple, and some of these can be very complex. I have seen great results with even the simplest of approaches, like brainstorming. Though brainstorming is not specifically a cost reduction approach, the focus of human talent generating ideas that may be able to bring the costs into some agreeable position works. In development, we can use decision matrix such as Pugh Matrix for the project or the product, as ways of comparing alternatives. QFD is another approach used on the product to ensure quality, cost and feature content are understood early in the development of the product. Techniques such as FAST can help us see the function in light of what the customer truly needs, which often gives us different perspectives on how to achieve.

What cost methods have you employed? Which are the most successful or easiest to use?