A reliable stream of new products or services is essential for the vitality of any organization. To assure a reliable stream, you’ll need a robust New Product Development (NPD) process. “But wait,” you say, “new products are, by definition, different. They don’t lend themselves to the constraints of a process.” So yes, the process must encourage innovation and differentness, but experience has shown that without a solid NPD process, you have three major problems:
Four aspects of a typical NPD Process, from 50,000 feet:
Each phase has a different objective and a different feeling tone. An example of a simple NPD process with three major phases:
These are written lists of the completion requirements for each phase. For example, to exit the Investigation Phase you might require
The beauty of these criteria is that they provide marching orders for your development team. Absent exit criteria, experience shows a lot of wandering around!
An absolute must for NPD. Classical “Waterfall” PM works great for most hardware and service situations, and Agile PM (sometimes called Scrum) for purely software situations.
The Gantt chart is the main roadmap for PM. If you aren’t doing this with your development projects, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table!
For example, a quarterly top-level meeting to review progress on all your NPD projects, shift resources around as needed, and evaluate new ideas that might turn into NPD projects.
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