Automobile

Ford proves to itself that it can hurry up

To start, Ford located the entire Maverick team — from design and engineering to marketing and sales — in one large room in the basement of its Dearborn, Mich., Product Development Center. Design sketches, data and product development metrics covered the walls.

Baumbick designed what he called “sprints,” roughly six- to eight-week chunks of work time to develop and try out new ideas. The thinking was that if the teams worked in shorter bursts, as opposed to monthslong stretches marked by formal management reviews, they would be empowered to try more ideas since it would be easier to recover if those ideas fell through.

“If it really went bad, or wasn’t effective, you didn’t put the whole project at risk,” Baumbick said. “That’s where the ideas really started to roll.”

Some of those ideas revolved around the vehicle’s 54-inch bed, which engineering specialist Keith Daugherty called a “DIY fan’s paradise.”

The team had found, through customer research, that many truck owners create their own hacks for storing items in the bed. They played around with cheap materials, such as cardboard and plastic foam, to quickly design features and see what would work and what wouldn’t.

The end product comes with slots stamped into the side of the bed that can fit 2×6 or 2×4 lumber, which gives owners the option to divide the storage areas or create bike racks.

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