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How to Create and Launch Superior Products
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Summary of Robert G. Cooper's book, "Product Leadership: Creating and Launching Superior New Products". A terrific guide to developing new product strategies, and what separates the winners in......

Summary of Robert G. Cooper's book, "Product Leadership: Creating and Launching Superior New Products". A terrific guide to developing new product strategies, and what separates the winners in product innovation from the wanna-bies.

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  • 1. Product LeadershipCreating and Launching Superior New ProductsSummarized from book of the same name
  • 2. “Product Leadership: Creating and Launching Superior New Products”
    By Robert G. Cooper
    ISBN: 0738201561
    The Book
  • 3. 3
    Three Cornerstones of Performance
    • Emphasis on up-front pre-development homework
    • 4. Building in VOC throughout
    • 5. Sharp, early product definition
    • 6. Tough Go/Kill decisions at every stage where projects really do get killed
    • 7. Highlights quality of execution
    High Quality New Product Process
    Business’s New Product Performance
    New Product Strategy
    Resource Commitment
    • Clear goals and objectives
    • 8. Clearly defined arenas (i.e., areas of strategic focus)
    • 9. Specified resources are allocated against each arena
    • 10. Strategy to attack & win each arena defined
    • 11. Strategy has long-term thrust and focus
    • 12. Role of product in achieving business’s goals and product strategy clearly communicated
    • 13. Having the right resources
    • 14. Having sufficient resources
    • 15. Deploying resources wisely – to the right strategic arenas and projects
  • Best performers have senior managements that:
    Are strongly committed to new products and product development
    Embrace a long-term commitment to product development, beyond a 1-year horizon
    Ensure development portfolio contains a certain proportion of long-term and platform projects (not just quick, one-year hits)
    Develop a vision, objectives and strategy for new product efforts driven by (and linked to) the business’s corporate objectives and strategy
    Install a systematic, high-quality new product process in the organization, and practice discipline, following the principles of the process
    Commit the necessary resources to achieve the firm’s new product goals
    Are closely involved in the project Go/Kill and new product spending decisions
    Have a central role in the new product project review process and in resource allocation decisions
    Foster innovation in the organization
    Support, reward and recognize new product efforts
    Empower project teams
    Support committed champions: act as godfathers, sponsors or executive champions for major new product projects
    Role of Senior Management
  • 16. 6 critical success factors:
    Management emphasizes doing the upfront homework in the process before projects move into the development phase
    Product process emphasizes a strong market orientation and builds in the voice of the customer throughout
    Sharp, early product definition before development work begins
    Tough Go/Kill decision points in the process where killed projects stay killed
    Focus on quality of execution throughout process
    Process is complete & thorough – no hasty corner-cutting! But also flexible as dictated by nature and risk of project
    Cornerstone #1: High Quality Product Process
  • 17. Senior management has made the necessary resource commitment, and kept it
    Have a superior, differentiated product that delivers unique benefits and better value to customers
    Right organizational structure, design and climate
    Leverage core competencies – synergy with the base business and its strengths are vital to success; “step-out” projects tend to fail more often
    Market attractiveness is a key criterion for project selection and prioritization
    Market need, growth & size
    Competitive situation
    Speed is everything! But not at the expense of quality of execution!
    6 Additional Critical Success Factors
  • 18. Includes:
    Goals for the business’s total product development efforts
    The role of product development: how new products tie into the business’s overall goals
    Arenas of strategic focus, including priorities
    The business defines the types of markets, applications, technologies, services and products on which the business’s new products will focus
    Can be defined in terms of dimensions:
    Markets or market segments, and/or
    Product types/lines/categories, and/or
    Technologies and technology platforms
    Spending splits across these arenas (R&D funds, possibly marketing & capital funds for developments)
    How to attack each arena
    Cornerstone #2: New Product Strategy
  • 19. 4 main ingredients:
    There are goals/objectives for the business’s total new product efforts – e.g., what sales, profits, and the like new products will contribute to the business goal
    The role of new products in achieving the business’s goals is clearly communicated to all
    There are clearly defined arenas—specific areas of strategic focus (products, markets, technologies, etc.)—to give direction to the business’s total new product effort
    The new product effort has a long-term thrust and focus, including some long-term projects (as opposed to just short-term, incremental projects)
    Cornerstone #2: New Product Strategy
  • 20. Three main facets top performing businesses have in common:
    Resource commitment are aligned with the business’s new product objectives, strategy, and process
    Lack of resources leads to poor quality of execution – not enough people or time leads to corner-cutting
    Well-intentioned “strategic planning exercises” not backed with needed resources set up projects for failure
    R&D budgets are adequate
    R&D as a % of sales is by far the strongest determinant of the impact of the product development effort
    The necessary people are in place, and have their time freed up for new products
    Cornerstone #3: Resource Commitment
  • 21. Success versus failure rates at launch
    Attrition rates: what % of projects continue at each stage/gate in the process?
    Proportion of resources devoted to winners vs. losers vs. killed projects
    Keep Score!
  • 22. Purpose: to answer 3 questions
    Quality of Execution: have the steps in the previous stage been executed in a quality fashion?
    Business Rationale: does the project (continue to) look like an attractive one from an economic and business standpoint?
    Action Plan: are the proposed action plan and the resources requested reasonable and sound?
    Gates must define visible deliverables in advance
    Clearly understood criteria to make Go/Kill decisions
    Include financial and qualitative criteria
    Broken down into must-meet vs. should-meet characteristics
    Clearly articulated outputs
    A decision: Go/Kill/Hold/Recycle
    A path forward = an approved project plan + a date & list of required deliverables for the next gate
    How a Gate Should Work
  • 23. 6 Responsibilities
    Making timely, firm and consistent Go/Kill decisions
    Prioritizing projects effectively
    Establishing visible deliverables for successive gate meetings
    Committing and ensuring availability of necessary resources
    Mentoring and enabling project teams
    Setting high standards for quality of execution of project tasks
    5 Roles
    The Bankers: to make Go/Kill and prioritization decisions and to provide the needed resources for the project
    The Enforcers: to ensure the new product process works—to instill discipline
    The Quality Assurers: to ensure projects are unfolding as they should, in a quality fashion—DIRTFooT (do it right the first time)
    The Mentors: to help project teams chart their path forward, to provide advice and share their wisdom
    The Godfathers: to help project teams get things done—removing red tape and other obstacles to the timely completion of the project
    Gatekeeper Roles and Responsibilities
  • 24. Miss most meetings. When you do come, start reading the materials (deliverables) as the meeting starts.
    Don’t give the project team a chance to make their presentation. Attack with tough questions as soon as they put up their first slide/overhead.
    Always ask for information that has not been specifically requested—that way you keep the project team off balance.
    Attack the project team with vicious, rude questioning. Make these junior people really live in fear of the gatekeepers.
    Ignore the stated criteria at the gates. Make the decision from the gut. And ignore the facts—use your own opinion instead.
    Dwell only on the financial projections. Spend at least 3/4ths of the meeting arguing the numbers. The rest of the information doesn’t matter.
    Your role is that of a judge. Never offer any help or advice.
    If in doubt, don’t make a decision. Keep the team waiting around for several weeks. It shows who’s boss.
    Don’t prioritize projects. Just keep adding projects to the active list. There’s lots of slack in the organization that needs cutting out.
    Demand that the project team reduce their timelines and resources requested. And committed resources can be rescinded at any time.
    10 Ways To Ruin Gate Meetings