Spearhead NPD Success by Aligning Stage-Gate Processes & Innovation Strategy

Achieve unprecedented ROI for innovation and NPD efforts by following these tips for a well-communicated innovation and new product business strategy. Then, keep your finger on the pulse of what delights the end-user and be adaptive and agile during gate and portfolio review meetings for ultimate NPD success.

Strategy: Start with the Basics

Thrive with new product development (NPD) by executing a company-specific, enterprise innovation Stage-Gate® process. Drive this gated process with business objectives and a well-defined new product strategy at its core.

Once objectives have been clearly defined, it's time to decide where to focus R&D and product development efforts while distinguishing how to win in the strategic arena. According to Dr. Robert Cooper in a recent webinar sponsored by Sopheon, “The three most important things in product development are focus, focus, focus … Most companies we come across have far too many projects and too few resources to do them or to do them well and on time.”

Finally, strategy requires resource commitment and calculated portfolio management. Strategy becomes tangible once money has been spent, so make sure your spending decisions are smart and stick tightly to your pre-determined objectives.

Goal: funnelFewer but Better Projects

Utilize the Idea-to-Launch funnel approach ― start with good, great, and brilliant ideas, then successively remove the weak projects through a series of gates.

To reiterate, it's a funnel not a tunnel; weaker projects must be killed so resources can converge on the concepts that are truly stunning. Meager projects still alive further along the funnel highlight problems in an organization's decisions during gate and portfolio review meetings.

Project Evaluation: Scorecard Fun for Everyone

Defining criteria for Go or Kill decisions is essential not only for ensuring optimal resource allocation but for providing a framework to evaluate a project with quantitative and qualitative data.

Scorecards prove to be effective at honing in on the right projects. This is especially true early on in a project when little data is known, and for bolder projects with a lot of uncertain data. As Dr. Cooper stated, “There are two ways to win at new products. One is to do projects right, the other is to do the right projects.” Leveraging scorecards and being vigilant about consistent evaluation helps corporations to learn fast, fail fast, and adjust processes for nimble NPD.

And don't forget to put a post-launch review process in place to compare your forecast to actual numbers.

Success Driver: An Innovative and Supportive Corporate Culture

A company that fosters NPD success and innovation doesn't stifle creativity, it nourishes it and gives some leeway to the entrepreneurial spirit. Creative people need resources and more flexibility with scouting time. Don't be afraid to invest in more venturesome projects, so put some money on the table and invest in innovation.

Customers Rule: Ask for Input Early and Often

Build something, get it in front of the customer to test, get feedback, and then revise your thinking about the project. Use a Stage-Gate process with a series of iterations or spirals built-in to get the product just right. Distinguish and clarify the voice of your customer, and then listen to it. It's imperative that the end-user be an integral part of your entire development process.

One Team, One Dream: Effective Cross-Functional Teams

Effective innovation depends upon the ability of global cross-functional innovation teams to work well across time zones, and national and organizational boundaries. These processes can impact a product's time-to-market. Enable your organization to get input from cross-functional team members and streamline review and approval processes.

Enterprise Innovation Management: The Accolade Advantage for NPD Success

stage-gate-ready-173Get the most out of your innovation and NPD activities by using Sopheon's Accolade to manage your Stage-Gate processes. Accolade was the first software solution to be certified on Stage-Gate Ready Version III, scoring a perfect 100% on all criteria in every category.

Accolade Benefits:

  • Streamline the adoption and evolution of best-practice processes that reflect your unique needs
  • Reduce time required to create deliverables by maximizing data re-use
  • Decrease effort to identify and leverage reusable knowledge/insights
  • Design flexible, highly configurable process models that underlie all innovation efforts
  • Reduce the effort to identify optimal portfolio and resource plans
  • Easily capture actual time spent on projects/initiatives; compare actuals to forecasts to assess quality of resource plans
  • Condense the effort to create and manage item-level forecasts; enable the use of best-practices
  • Use accurate data to spot process-specific challenges and monitor for improvement

Create an articulated, robust and well-communicated innovation and new product strategy for your business. Then, keep your finger on the pulse of what delights the end-user and be adaptive and agile during gate and portfolio review meetings for ultimate NPD success.

Dive deep into the Principles of Lean and Fast NPD with Stage-Gate International Managing Consultant Mike Tennity and Sopheon Global Enterprise Service Business Leader Iain King in this on-demand webinar.

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Interested in automating Stage-Gate processes to manage enterprise innovation? Click here.

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