Product Development Portfolios that work.

    Creating and managing a development portfolio is a critical factor in the success of most commercial enterprises, but one that is done poorly in many I have seen. Some recent with a client struggling with the challenge for his organization served to  clarify my thoughts, and assisted his organisation to develop a portfolio discipline that appears to  be working well.

    Success is much more than just using a few tools, of which there are many, it is about how the enterprise at its core deals with ambiguity, trade-offs, and the challenge of being frustrated and wrong a lot of the time, whilst being sufficiently resilient to keep on batting, and batting hard. As Louis Pasteur  said, “Chance favors the prepared mind” and nothing creates chance like persistence tempered with learning from each experience.

    Below are some of the things that appear to me to be of importance

  1. Have a clear strategy. Without a clearly articulated business strategy that has commitment from  those responsible for implementation, how can you possibly have a Product development and commercialization portfolio with any hope of success?
  2. Self awareness. Know what you do not know as well as what you do know, and where the knowledge about what you do not know may reside, particularly if it is with a competitor.
  3. Externalities. Understand the forces driving developments that may create opportunities in the industries you target, and  the commercial and competitive imperatives that drive the decision making of individual customers and potential customers  in those industries.
  4. People. Have access to great people, both internal and external in a variety of ways to extract a range of informed views and data upon which to build a case. Use the emerging communication tools to link these people and leverage their knowledge and experience
  5. Sponsorship. Ensure there is a senior level executive sponsor for each project that emerges from the pack. This person should have the passion, knowledge and position to carry the case for resource allocation, risk management, and strategic fit to the senior decision maker in the enterprise.
  6. Endless polishing. Keep polishing the portfolio, it will never be a completed exercise, it is a live entity always, and needs TLC. Part of the polishing is creation of a “carpark” which captures ideas, issues, technologies, and all the sometimes random stuff that can create that “Eureka” moment when things suddenly come together in a new way. Revisit the carpark regularly.
  7. PDCA. Be prepared to experiment, trial, look for insights, learn by doing, but be aggressive about performance, and relegation and promotion to and from the carpark, and further through the development process, and learn from all that experience.
  8. Customers. Engage customers as early and as often as possible, after all, they are the ones whose problems your product is supposed to solve, and they are usually full of problems and improvement ideas, some of which may be of value to you.
  9. Dare to be different. No successful new product did the job just the same as something that already exists, that is just a price-fight, differentiation is fundamental to success.
  10. NPD is everybody’s job. Product development and idea evolution happens holistically, not by functional line, and it must be a priority for every stakeholder in and around the enterprise, not just something that requires attendance by the marketing personnel at a meeting every second Tuesday at 10am .
  11. There you go, sounds pretty easy!

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Customers, Innovation, Leadership, Social Media, Strategy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Product Development Portfolios that work.

  1. Pingback: Innovation “carpark” « Strategyaudit’s Blog

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