Disruptor League

John Carter

Lean Product Development Processes For Innovation And Speed

Through our hands-on work with clients, we have developed a lean product development process. It is a methodology that depicts key milestones, but supersedes specific engineering models such as waterfall or Agile. However, we have incorporated selected practices from the agile toolkit to enhance innovation and speed products to market.  The beauty of this process …

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How to Manage Early Stage Innovation

Product concepts are the lifeblood of your company. Flowing through your company’s system, like blood through the veins of a human body, new product concepts are the future of your company’s health and the source of its growth. Unfortunately, many companies lack a strategic planning process for innovation, or they manage it poorly. Too many …

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How do you quantify the probability of success of a new product?

For the sake of simplicity (and for most real situations) we will assume that this question is asked by a manager at a company that has been in business, understands the market, and this is a new product for this company. The basic product development metrics we will use are: Sales rate one year after …

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Innovation Roadmaps: What Are They Good For, Anyway?

At the heart, product roadmaps show the major milestones of a project’s lifecycle. Maintaining Product Roadmaps is a useful discipline in just about any organization that has more than one product. But aside from capturing product timelines, what good are they?  If a roadmap is just another deliverable you owe an executive, that checks a …

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Stop Overloading Engineers, While Increasing Project Throughput

Scenario: WebCo, a company with about 200 contributors, was having trouble keeping projects on schedule. An analysis of the root causes showed that engineers worked long days. Many of these workdays included many meetings that were not about their highest priority project. The VP of Engineering suspected that her staff were getting stretched too thin. …

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Getting to the Root Cause of Project Headaches

Scenario: a product development team at a medical device company had a testing phase that ran far longer than expected. This delay rippled throughout the project and had serious implications downstream. After the project was complete, the team leader wanted to go back and figure out why the test phase had not gone as planned. …

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Using Product Development Metrics That Motivate at the Team Level

The two most common product development metrics are R&D spending as a percent of sales and revenues from new products over time. These metrics, although necessary to track, do not predict a result. There’s no linear relationship between R&D spending and new product success. For example, a company might allocate ten percent of its R&D …

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Want To Manage Innovation? Let the Creators Create!

Innovative cross-functional teams in technology companies often depend on individuals with highly technical, specialized skills. They’re on the edge, extending their disciplines where they haven’t been before. Teams like this require upper management support that enables their success. It does not need micromanagement – or its opposite, chaotic management that is no better than neglect. …

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Three Keys To Meeting The Challenge of Multi-Platform Product Development

Scenario: A technology company is creating a consumer electronics solution that involves hardware, software and web components. Three separate teams, located in different parts of the company’s facility, create three platforms. Each platform has its own development team, its own Program Manager and its own Project Manager. There are no clear and distinct processes for …

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Ten Questions to Answer Before Using Social Tools for Product Innovation

Social media is incredibly effective for conveying marketing messages and for receiving rapid customer feedback. The effectiveness of social media for outbound marketing activities, i.e. getting the news out about new products offerings, and interacting with customers, is well known. But social media is also a tool for inbound marketing – for understanding the customer …

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