Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is New Product Development Dysfunctional?

So how should the question “Is the New Product Development (NPD) effort dysfunctional” be answered? It’s a simple question with a yes or no answer; there is no middle of the road response allowed here. Hanging out in the intermediate zone permits the warm fuzziness of maybe or sort of to cloud the issue. Simply asked - Is the NPD development process broken or not?

If any of the answers to questions the below are yes, then the NPD process is not working. These three simple assessments should be considered key indicators of a dysfunctional development process.And the answer is a big yes; the NPD process is dysfunctional, right? Any one of the three indicators posed above involves a great deal of lost revenue and should command real attention. There is typically a firm management directive that states these items are unacceptable and must be resolved. It gets brief attention, limited direct action and then the lost potential revenue is swept under the rug.

Here’s the deal – the NPD process is broken. Admit this and do something about it or deny it and do nothing. Stop hanging out in the middle, burning precious resources on misdirected activities that are really lacking the buy-in, resources or broad impact that will guarantee success. The middle ground incremental improvement efforts lack the proper focus on fixing the development process. Additionally, these solutions are falsely deemed a success by an achievement measurement that means little or nothing to a big picture victory.

For success on a scale large enough to repair dysfunctional product development efforts, there must be a direct assault on the key indicators, the bulls-eye of true improvement! Whoa, how can we possibly take those on? It’s long past the time of small thinking, a belief system that wastes money and does not address the core problems. Remember, solutions must address the fact that the overall NPD process is dysfunctional on multiple fronts!

It’s time to get real about assessing the process of bringing new products to market. Honestly answer the question “Is the new product development effort dysfunctional?” Fully understand the “why” of each key indicator of a busted development process by drilling down and uncovering all the reasons that they are occurring. Engage in a grass roots effort to fix what is found. Stop the “We are getting better” dance, unless there is quantifiable impact on the key indicators.

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