Written by Maureen Carlson, Partner at Appleseed
It looks like this -- you have a portfolio of products to deliver, resources identified, and a staged process to move through the product development gates. Yet, shifting priorities, unexpected pull on your resources, and lack of visibility are impacting your product schedules. Welcome to Product Development. Now hit head against wall.
Resource capacity planning issues continue to plague the product development organization according to our newly published 2nd Annual Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study. We've just reviewed this research at PIPELINE 2011, which was published earlier this year. In case you missed the event, I'd like to share some interesting takeaways.
Of the 922 product development professionals we surveyed at large product-driven companies:
- 57% indicated that one of their top 3 pain points was "too many projects for their resources" for the 2nd year in a row
- 42% find their schedules mostly or highly inaccurate.
- 50% said that managing changing priorities as business conditions change is their greatest risk.
- Only 25% rated themselves as good or excellent at resource capacity planning.
- Not being able to drive innovation fast enough was in the top 3 pain points this year and was identified by nearly 40% of respondents.
Is this sustainable?
Resources are finite and yet respondents reported a significant lack of visibility into capacity and availability, non-product roadmap demands on resources (ex. sales-driven "just do it" projects), and competing priorities.
Two of the people we interviewed via phone put it this way:
"The biggest pain point in my world continues to be execution. We are not doing a good job understanding resources that we have versus what it takes. The representation of existing resource is not great."
-- Manager of NPD, Scientific Products Company
"We do not have a good handle on our resource capacity, we could understand projects in-flight but did not do any forward planning because we do not have a handle on extra capacity, skills, etc."
-- Project Manager, Transportation and Energy Manufacturer
Find out what your peers are looking at in terms of solutions to manage their product portfolios. Download the full report: 2nd Annual Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study.