I would have to agree to most of the article's points, the only problem is that this approach is so contrary to the real world of corporations while the right way to go it will not likely ever happen. Most companies want to get the product out and then if business is not good they will let go of employees. Oftentimes, the employees that they lose are the valued ones (because they leave before the possible layoffs). The effect is a significant brain drain for the company. I have seen this too many times for it to be just a fluke. I do wonder what it will take for companies to realize the possible upsides to retaining employees during down times...?
Excellent article John. Some companies do follow most of your prescription and reap the benefits.
On the subject of "closing the loop," I think one area where the loop is never closed is in the accounting of true costs. It is a simple matter to tally the costs of design engineering man-months, prototype manufacturing, testing, etc., but the cost of missing a market window or delivering a product that does not meet customer expectations is something never recorded in the books -- allowing the same penny-wise but pound-foolish mistakes to be made again in the future.