As companies mature in their stages-and-gates and portfolio management processes, they often become aware of gaps or immaturity in their new product development (NPD) processes earlier in the pipeline, i.e., in the front end. This is not a time to panic. In fact, it is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made and acknowledge that this maturity later in the pipeline is indicative of your organization’s ability to implement and mature processes in the front end. This is also a time to seek and share a deeper understanding of the full architecture of NPD. Why? Because, in order to mature your front end processes what you must avoid is lumping the front end all together, as if it is just one process rather than a series of sub processes each with its own value and challenges.
Just as the back end of the pipeline includes stages-and-gates and life cycle management – each with its own subset of processes – the front end is made up of business strategy, product line strategy, roadmapping, concept generation and feasibility assessment. It is critical to the development of a healthy and effective pipeline to understand the value and characteristics of each sub process and then find a way to communicate this to management. Management’s appreciation for the full architecture of NPD will go a long way towards a commitment to a holistic approach to maturing each process.
Since there are many sub processes, you’ll need an opportunity to focus on one at a time and build out your organization’s capabilities. It is important to recognize the order in which to mature these processes to accelerate your results. To learn more, and also discover other threats to the health of your full NPD architecture that you can dodge, download my recent whitepaper Seven Mistakes to Avoid When Integrating New Product Development Processes.
You can also view our recent 30-minute webinar on the topic. Share your thoughts on my interactive dialogue with the NPD Solution Evangelist below.