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

Aligning Manufacturing and R&D in New Product Development (NPD)

New product development (NPD) is about creating knowledge resulting in new products that drive revenue and earnings growth. It is arguably the most important business process and one of the most difficult to manage (1). Why? Because it encompasses a series of workflow, information and decision flow across the entire organization. It is unique as well since every other process in the business can be driven to maximum efficiency. NPD is not just about efficiency, which often is the focus.  The real concern should be how to make it more effective.  Continue reading

Online Portfolio Management Tool: A Case Study

LogoFor any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete, and new ideas become higher priority. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products or services, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt. This article will describe a simple-to-use, cost effective online portfolio management tool.  Continue reading

Innovate Your Innovation Process

innovateAre you a small to mid-sized (SME) manufacturing company with a singular focus on understanding your customer needs, providing superior products to meet those needs and growing your revenue and earnings? It goes without saying that for every company, these goals should and do consume significant management bandwidth. The problem is that most organizations become too inwardly focused (1). They do not consider what might be happening outside their company, and even beyond their industry, and leverage that knowledge to create new customer value. This has driven the popularity of the concept of “open innovation”. Maybe we should extend the concept of open innovation to other important aspects of a business such as the innovation management process. Why not, in other words, “innovate your innovation process” by learning from others? Continue reading

Looking Beyond Your “Four Walls”: Revisited

Four WallsSeveral months ago, I wrote an article on a topic of great interest to me (1). A consistent problem with many companies I work with is that senior management and those in position of leadership in new product development (NPD) do not consider what might be happening in other industries.  There is a need, as I like to say, to look beyond your “four walls”. Continue reading

Assessing Your New Product Development (NPD) Process

continuous learningFor anyone responsible for managing a new product development (NPD) process, continually assessing your process and learning from other’s experiences is a must. These whitepapers available at no charge cover a wide range of topics including the role of management in NPD success, metrics, project definition, portfolio management and online tools, project risk, among others.   Continue reading

Online Portfolio Management Made Simple

SimplicityFor any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1).  In particular, the portfolio over time tends to move to a higher state of disorder akin to the concept of entropy (2). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt.  Continue reading

New Project Portfolio Management Tool for Small to Mid-Sized Companies

LogoFor any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1).  In particular, the portfolio over time tends to move to a higher state of disorder akin to the concept of entropy (2). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt.  Continue reading

Project Portfolio Management Tool for Small to Mid-Sized Companies

Portfolio2For any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1).  In particular, the portfolio over time tends to move to a higher state of disorder akin to the concept of entropy (2). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt.  Continue reading