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Can a Startup Transform General Mills? New business strategies, new organizational approaches, new business processes and new enabling technology are being used by many forward-thinking companies to continually improve their product development process. Assessment No organization can improve all aspects of product development at once. Priorities need to be developed for implementing the best practices of product development. Several years ago, we led a consortium to identify product development and time-to-market best practices. T Handbook series, and other corporate handbooks. Some of these best practices are relevant to only certain types of products or business environments.
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Associated with each of these best practices is a set of questions to aid in this assessment process. A company’s product development activities are evaluated with respect to each of these best practices, and a quantitative rating is developed. This evaluation is supported by a verbal description of the characteristics of the organization’s product development approach as it evolves toward a world class approach to IPD. Strategic Alignment To be successful, an organization must have a a basis for competitive advantage. While an organization needs to do a reasonable job in various competitive dimensions, it can not be all things to all people.
The enterprise must focus on one or two dimensions of competition to truly excel and be successful. Quality, reliability, ease of use, serviceability, etc. Many best practices are related to one or more of these competive dimensions or strategies. If the practice is strongly related to one of these strategies, it can be described as a strategic lever. 7 Undertake a new development project only when resources are available.
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Overloading projects stretches out projects, delaying time-to-market. Resources can be focused on higher priority projects underway. The next highest priority project can be undertaken when the resources become available to support it as expeditiously as possible. 4 Fully commit to the project and rapidly staff to the plan to get off to a good start. One way to view the overall implied strategy is to look at the weighted average of the performance ratings for the best practices that are strategic levers associated with each of six competitive dimensions or strategies. A high weighted average performance rating for a particular strategic dimension compared with the weighted average performance ratings in other strategic dimensions suggests that the product development process has been strategically aligned to that strategic dimension. Analysis and Improvement In addition to the performance rating against each best practice and for each higher level category, an overall performance rating is developed by again assigning a weighting factor to each category based on their importance given the nature of the business and the product.
This performance rating, when compared to that of other companies, gives an indication of the urgency of improving the development process. Gap analysis is then employed to focus attention on the improvement opportunities that will yield the highest payoff. These are the areas that require the highest priority in improving the development process and will likely have the largest payoff. The strategic alignment analysis and gap analysis become the basis for identifying implementation actions and priorities. The concept is to pick a manageable number of improvement initiatives to focus your attention on. Once the large gap categories are identified, an examination of the individual best practices with lower performance ratings will help identify the specific areas that require attention.
In addition, identify and focus on the strategic levers that have low performance ratings and that are associated with the organization’s intended strategy. In addition, the expertise of an internal manager or outside consultant very knowledgeable in integrated product development concepts and improvement strategies can aid in identifying priorities. This expertise is important because of natural relationships and sequences with the implementation and use of these best practices. Personnel resources to support implementation or improvement activities are required. If the overall performance rating is low, a critical mass of personnel within the organization needs to develop an understanding of the best practices concepts. The implementation plan should begin with the low cost activities that yield high payoffs. There are two elements of implementation planning that must be addressed.
The first one that has been described is the implementation plan for the enterprise activities. The second plan element, the project deployment plan, are the actions that will be taken to support an individual product development project. This plan would be developed with the participation of the member of management responsible for the development effort, e. Summary Many organizations take totally different directions in the evolution of their product development process.
While some of these differences are the result of legitimate differences in their business strategy, business environment, organization, and the nature of their products, a frequent problem is the lack of a common framework of the best practices of product development. DRM Associates developed this assessment methodology and led the consortium that identified these best practices. The best practices resulted from numerous company visits and attendance at over 100 conferences and workshops on integrated product development. Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. Everyone has million-dollar ideas, but people rarely act on them. For entrepreneurs, one good idea can provide an extraordinary amount of hope. Even though the chances of success are minimal, these ideas give people something to aspire to greater than a boring cubicle and a nagging boss.
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