Want Successful Teams? Don’t Ignore This

When many think of innovation, they envision a lone creative genius toiling in a garage creating the next disruptive technology. That makes for a great movie, but the reality is for organizations recognized as serial innovators with a track record of a steady stream of profitable new products, innovation is more akin to a team sport.  Continue reading

Defining New Products: The Product Definition Decision Model™ Helps Guide the Process

Is creating a written product definition document before starting development on a new product at odds with the lean methodologies that emphasize “fail fast, fail cheap” as a way to allow a product definition to emerge? A recent article proposed that indeed this is not the case (1). This article will expand on that concept and introduce the Product Definition Decision Model™ as a way to guide product definition.  Continue reading

Is Fully Defining a New Product at Odds with a “Minimum Viable Product”?

A recent article focused on the number one problem in new product development: too many projects for the available development resources (1). In that article, one of the prescriptions proposed was to resist the temptation for the scope of a project to expand. Scope creep not only impacts that specific project but the entire project portfolio because of resource dependencies. Continue reading

Tools To Manage Risk in New Product Development

Imagine this scenario: You’re a project manager in the Engineering department of a manufacturing company. You have a couple successful new product projects under your belt, and feeling confident. You’re proficient using Microsoft® Project and have an opportunity to manage the company’s next big, high-profile project. After a team meeting to kick off the project, you create a detailed Gantt chart. After all, that’s what you have used in the past, what could go wrong?  Continue reading

How Risk Impacts New Product Development

The only way to avoid risk in new product development is to never develop any new products. For most companies, that is not an option since new products are, or should be, an important growth driver.  Understanding, managing and mitigating risk, therefore, is inherent in innovation.  Continue reading

Manufactured Products and the Power of Simple Thinking

Those employed in manufacturing companies spend much of their time thinking about the product. The features, benefits, specifications, cost structure. The production process and how to improve it. How the product compares to the competition, its design and ease-of-use. These factors drive new product and process innovation.  Continue reading

The Biggest Challenge in Product Innovation May Surprise You

overloadAsk senior executives at manufacturing firms what their biggest challenge is managing new product innovation and you might hear answers such as lack of creative thinking, development teams need to work harder, or maybe that the organization does not have the right skill sets. The truth might surprise you: consistently year-in and year-out, the single biggest pain point in managing product innovation is too many projects for available development resources.  Continue reading

Process or Vision: What’s More Important for Product Innovation Success?

right-left-brainListen closely and you realize there is a lively debate between those who believe process is most important in innovation and others who contend that vision and creativity are what leads to success. The truth is that both are equally important and organizations interested in improving their ability to innovate must do both well.  Continue reading

The Dirty Little Secret: It’s Not About Your Product

BlindersManufacturing firms tend to focus on their products. In fact, we often fall in love with them. It consumes most of our time at work, and for many in the business, much of their time away from the office as well. We celebrate big orders and naively assume the good times will last forever. Elaborate marketing campaigns tout the benefits of our product vs. competitive offerings. We obsess on how to continually improve the product to out-do our competition. So what’s the problem, you ask?  Continue reading

Software Development Challenges for Traditionally Hardware Oriented Manufacturing Companies

softwareFor manufacturing companies software is an increasingly important aspect of their product’s value proposition. From consumer to industrial products, nearly every industry is affected. Incorporating software presents greater challenges to companies whose products have traditionally been hardware oriented. Continue reading