Taming chaos in NPD

Demian Entrekin · March 4, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/deb

NPD does not mean 'narcissistic personality disorder'

As a follow-up to the previous entry on New Product Development (NPD), this entry is about creating a process to "tame the chaos."

One point of clarification: the term "product" here refers either to a product, a service or a solution. These terms are often thrown around as if they have some sort of specific talisman-like quality. "It's not a product, it's a solution." For the sake of discussion, if this is a discussion, "product" means all three. Another term for "product might" be "market offering."

Some organizations are quite adept at creating new market offerings. Even for those organizations that do it well, it can be a difficult process. One of the biggest challenges is to strike the right balance between passion and reason. I've never known a successful entrepreneur who wasn't passionate about their projects. That said, the passion can also blind you.

To create a new market offering we typically go through a process that looks something like this:

-- Concept Ideation
-- Concept Vetting
-- Concept Validation
-- Business Case
-- Market Research
-- Market Testing
-- Prototyping and Use Case development
-- Product Design
-- Technical Design
-- Construction
-- Rollout
-- Support
-- Manage to Roadmap

This is not by any means a perfect process or even a complete process. There's much more work to be done around financial planning, marketing and sales, competitive differentiaiton, etc. But the key point here is that if we are going to do this as a team, we need some kind of a process to guide us. We need to understand and communicate what we've done so far, what we're doing now, and what comes next. This is especially true in a team context. If you are a one-man-band, then you can do whatever you want.

Here is one illustration of an NPD process:


The most important point in all this is the concept of an incremental commit. We don't want to find ourselves in a "do or die" mentality where it's an all or nothing option. The gates serve as check points to make sure we are on track.

One major risk to a process like this is that it can also become a bureaucratic nightmare. Someone once said to me that "we want to live by our process, but we don't want to die by it."

(Image source: Business)

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