Entries by Paul O'Connor

Think Big! Innovate Product Lines, Not Products

Look over a few articles on innovation. Ask yourself if they’re about innovating one product at a time or do they suggest innovating multiple products? Do they propose innovating whole product lines? This is important because product lines are far more powerful than a single product. It’s time to think much bigger. It’s time to […]

Product Portfolio Management – Picking Flowers in the Dark

Project prioritization is difficult. As a result, senior managers who govern portfolios often make things up as they go. Why not? Somebody must figure what’s more important and what’s not. It might as well be whoever is looking at the bubble charts. There are two big challenges with figuring out project prioritization. First, product lines […]

Understanding Product Line Strategy

In my book and workshops, I lay out a strong framework for product line strategies.  I complement this with an easily understood lexicon. Together, the framework and lexicon are important to gaining greater impact from product lines. And they’re not just for product line teams. Let me explain why. Product line success in large companies […]

How to Screw Up a Product Line

When I began my career in product development a few decades ago, I simply didn’t understand how easy it is to screw up a product line. I was envious of those managers overseeing product lines. I thought managing established lines didn’t cause people to lose sleep worrying about how to develop and launch new stuff. […]

Product Versus Product Line

Roadmaps & Strategies There’s a major gap between product and product line thinking. Stop for a moment. Do you know the difference between a product and a product line? Of course, you do. A product is a single offering with attributes that deliver benefit, satisfaction, and delight to customers. A product line is a group […]

Lean Startups and Intrapreneurship Evade Core Challenges

Pick up any business publication, and you’ll see stories and articles on how organizations must innovate. The message is clear. Your organization’s health, your personal future, and our whole society depend on improving innovation. Good writing with good stories can make compelling arguments to support simple approaches. They stress helping and encouraging you to think […]

WHITEPAPER: Powerful Product Lines Strategies

A Framework for Deconstructing and Improving Product Lines Strategies Business strategy is interesting. To many managers, business strategy seems monolithic. In reality, it wraps around many functional strategies. Supply chain management has a strategy. Sales has a strategy. Manufacturing has a strategy. Plus, companies can stress strategies for areas like brand management, engineering, information technology, […]

Fighting Evil Complexity Costs

Smart Product Line Strategies & Roadmaps Accounting can be as thrilling as getting teeth pulled. Cost accounting, however, is a skill product developers must get their arms around. This is the black art of calculating how much products cost to develop, make and sell. I call it a black art not because of the easily […]

Why Good Portfolio Management Depends on a Robust Front-end

NPD and R&D Inputs and Outputs If you are interested in NPD and R&D portfolio management, here is an important insight: Most Portfolio Management discussions, presentations, and articles address only the management of those projects that are under development. To state this in terms of process management, the insight is that portfolio management focuses only […]

Eight Vital Facts about Product Line Strategies and Roadmaps

Interested in Product Line Strategies or Product Line Roadmaps? Here are eight (of many) important facts: The biggest mistake companies make regarding product line strategies is to do nothing at all.  Orientation toward one-off product development seldom beats a competitor’s “proactive” multi-generation product line strategy, no matter how good innovation techniques, portfolio management, and project […]