Skip to main content

Product Planning and Management

Keeping Up with the Innovators: A Look at Recent Entries on the PIPELINE Wire

With the PIPELINE 2013 conference taking place this week, we are enjoying access to valuable insights and lessons learned from the conference speakers and sponsors. Here are a couple of recent articles worth a read:

Posted on the PIPELINE 2013 Wire, Innovation Insights: A Q&A with PIPELINE Speaker Pascal Finette, is a sneak peek into what the director of the Office of the Chair at Mozilla will share in his PIPELINE breakout session. Pascal, a believer in the open-innovation paradigm, explains how "innovation in its most elemental form is a funnel process." He then goes on to share how Mozilla embraced this philosophy as it started out to "do the impossible" and take on Microsoft. Read the full interview to learn more about Pascal's perspective on the tangible steps product developers can take to effectively use innovation to drive meaningful change that can increase market share.

Another insightful read on the Wire this week is titled, A New Frontier for the Learning Organization ‒‒ Better Innovation by Understanding the Big Picture. Chad McAllister, founder of Product Innovation Educators, shares five actions organizations can take to advance their learning about innovation. Read the complete article to find out why it is important for businesses to become learning organizations and start looking at effective ways to address root causes rather than chase issues.

Later this week, the Wire will feature interviews with keynote speaker Frans Johansson, innovation author and founder/CEO of the Medici Group, and Product Pulse will feature Terry Mandel, founder of a startup that is demonstrating innovation that can change the world with its dedication to improving access to affordable and effective biomedical innovation in the developing world.

Stay tuned to Product Pulse for more from PIPELINE speakers and other innovation experts and product development leaders.

Innovation and Portfolio Management: Wise Tips from the Wire

As event manager for the PIPELINE 2013 conference, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Kevin McFarthing. The word that comes to mind when I think of him is "enthusiastic" and I truly appreciate that he has been a wonderful supporter of PIPELINE and the innovation education it offers attendees. When you read Kevin's blogs, I think you'll find he also brings experience and wisdom to what he shares. And, as he is a frequent contributor to the Innovation Excellence blog, you may already be aware of all this. But in case you're not, I wanted to bring your attention to his latest contribution to the PIPELINE 2013 Wire: The Portfolio is the Pivotal Tool for Innovation Success

My favorite line is: Innovation needs creativity for great ideas, excellent execution in product and service development, strong external and internal communication, committed and capable people ‒‒ the portfolio is the tool that holds it all together. Of course, "How?" is likely the question that we are compelled to ask when reading that statement. Conveniently for us, he provides eight tips for effective and efficient portfolio management. Read more on the PIPELINE Wire.

Changing the Game with Innovation that Works

What to Expect at PIPELINE 2013 and Four Reasons to Attend

I am very excited to announce to all our Product Pulse readers that PIPELINE 2013 registration is open! This year's conference is all about "Changing the Game with Innovation that Works." As innovators, we know that inspiration is only a piece of the puzzle — and that's where PIPELINE comes in. Read the latest press releaseChanging the Game With Innovation.

Now in its fourth year — the online conference for innovative product development highlights innovation tools, techniques, and tangible takeaways shared by thought leaders, solution providers, and innovation practitioners. And for the first time, PIPELINE will feature several presentations in both German and English to appeal to its diverse and growing global audience. PIPELINE 2013 showcases keynote presentations:

  • Terry Jones, chairman of and founder /former CEO of will speak about Turning on Innovation in Your Culture — Teams and Organizations
  • Frans Johansson, innovation author and founder/CEO of the Medici Group will discuss The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World
  • Dr. Oliver Gassmann, innovation author and director of the Institute for Technology Management of the University of St. Gallen will speak about The Art and Science of Innovation (Presented in English and German)

PIPELINE 2013 will take place May 16th and opens at 4:30 AM CDT / 9:30 GMT with the first presentation kicking-off at 5:00 AM CDT /10:00 GMT followed by an assortment of informational and inspiring presentations running throughout the day. The conference will conclude at 2:30 PM CDT / 19:30 GMT so mark your calendars, select what you want to attend, and don't miss this extraordinary event.

Four reasons you should attend PIPELINE 2013:

  1. It's free to attend; no travel required.
  2. Connect and network with product leaders and innovators from organizations from all around the world!
  3. Get valuable insight and gain knowledge from PIPELINE's impressive lineup of speakers and sponsors.
  4. Leave the event feeling inspired and motivated and lead the innovation strategy within your organization.

As the host sponsor of PIPELINE, we will share conference updates and feature articles from PIPELINE speakers and sponsors, right here on Product Pulse. Read Kaylee Kolditz's article titled, Lighting the Way to a Brighter World Though Innovation at PIPELINE 2013 on the PIPELINE Buzz page. Want to know more about the event? Watch this video for a quick overview.

What are you looking forward to most at PIPELINE 2013? Share by leaving a comment below. I look forward to seeing you at the event.

An Interview with Carrie Nauyalis on the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit

The annual Stage-Gate® Innovation Summit 2013 recently wrapped up in Miami, leaving attendees with much to think about when it comes to implementing best practices around product development processes. The conference is directed by innovation champions from leading companies and promotes the sharing of ideas that enable immediate improvements in the gated process. Carrie Nauyalis, new product development solution evangelist, Planview, attended the conference for her fourth year and shares her experience with you, right here on Product Pulse.

Q: Having attended or sponsored the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit four times, what keeps you coming back?

Carrie: The Stage-Gate brand is known worldwide and there is so much depth under the methodology. The conference is an outlet for the experienced to share lessons learned with the newcomers trying to develop their process. I am always impressed with the culture of cooperation at the conference. Speakers reveal their best practices, and aren't ashamed to admit their mistakes and what they would do differently ‒‒ that's where the real benefit comes. I also appreciate the opportunity to speak with the presenters, collaborate with others to see how they are doing things, and meet people going through similar issues. You walk away inspired and enthused to get back and tweak your process.

Q: What types of people attended the conference this year?

Carrie: The conference is truly a span of people ranging from Stage-Gate newbies to companies with 10 years of Stage-Gate process under their belts. Everyone there is either a practitioner of Stage-Gate or the beneficiary of the process, meaning they may not directly use the process but they have teams of people under them who do. Both practitioners and beneficiaries glean valuable information based on their business initiatives.

Q: What presentations stood out for you this year?

Carrie: Chester Baker, head of global innovation at Abbott Nutrition, offered staggering statistics about ROI, which is critical when investing people and money in process development and portfolio management. When you consider the cost of paying gate keepers to take time out of their schedules to evaluate projects going to gate and all of the process managers chasing gate deliverables, you want to see returns. Chet illustrated that it's not just about implementation of Stage-Gate or a portfolio management solution like Planview Enterprise, but a collective innovation program with the goal of growing the company.

Of course, Scott Edgett, co-founder of Stage-Gate International, had some wicked-good stats of his own. He said that only one out of every nine concepts becomes a commercial success and 40% of a firm's product development resources go to losers; shocking! That's a lot of failed concepts that drained a lot of valuable resources ‒‒ and a lot of missed opportunities. I truly believe using technology like Planview's can increase the odds, reduce the number of resources applied to losers and increase the commercialization success of products. That's the stuff that gets me up in the morning.

Finally, Bruce Kerr, director of corporate innovation effectiveness at Corning, discussed the evolution of their gated process. He "got" that it's about continuous improvement versus a one-time fix; finding new ways to streamline the process and get better products to market faster. Interestingly, he was one of the only speakers who mentioned social media as part of their product development process. Social media can play a huge role in product development and more companies need to consider it.

Q: What were your key takeaways?

Carrie: 1) Continuous improvement in the Stage-Gate process is critical. You’re never "done." 2) Consumer-facing product companies have an opportunity to incorporate their brand into their Stage-Gate and portfolio processes. Marketing needs to get involved by incorporating brand information into the product development process and portfolio prioritization process. 3) The successful companies have automated their processes using commercialized applications, not spreadsheets. Spreadsheets aren't going to get you there.

To learn more about automating the Stage-Gate Process with Planview Enterprise download your copy of the Planview Enterprise is Certified Stage-Gate® Ready Solution Brief.

I'd like to hear from you. If you attended the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit, share some of the highlights that inspired you. If you didn't attend, what are some key takeaways you had at a product development or innovation conference this year? Share by leaving a comment below.

Reading List for Product Development Professionals

February featured some interesting news and views pertaining to product development and innovation, and we're excited to share some of our favorites. Each month we will share articles we find particularly compelling, fun or insightful here on Product Pulse. We invite you to bookmark the ones you like or add them to your reading list ‒‒ happy reading.

Innovation Excellence Weekly Issue 21: This SlideShare provides Innovation Excellence's pick of ten recent articles. With topics such as Jimi Hendrix for Innovators and Can a Company Over Innovate?, we think you'll enjoy the read!

Forbes: The 3 Ways Innovation is Changing (And How to Adapt Fast): Innovators and product development leaders need to think about the shifts taking place and respond accordingly. Check out the top 3 changes being faced (be sure to read the article to understand implications and required responses):

  • Change #1. The very long-term innovation environment
  • Change #2. Innovate everywhere, always
  • Change #3. Innovate the processes

Innovation Management: Wearable Technology ‒‒ From Geek to Chic?: What will they think of next? Check out wearable technology that integrates the power of smartphone technology into wristbands or smart watches, smart glasses, jewelry, and clothes ‒‒ even tattoos and soon contact lenses (wow)! Big brand players include Apple, Google, Olympus, Sony and Nike along with not so well-known companies such as Pebble, mc10 and Recon Instruments. Read how 2013 is the kicking off wearable technology and its potential growth projections.

You can share some of your top choices for newsworthy articles with our Product Development audience by providing a link and comment below.

The Global State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning [Infographic]

In a recent blog post, Are Your Limited Resources Focused on the Right Opportunities?, Maureen Carlson, chief researcher of the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, cites key findings and introduces the study's maturity matrix that you can use to evaluate the maturity of your organization.

2013 Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study InfographicOne revelation is that a great majority of organizations have shared resources across their enterprise, but less than half of them have a dedicated function or role for resource management and capacity planning. Not surprisingly, the ones who do are achieving the most success in terms of resource planning maturity.

Overall, greater visibility of demand and capacity, better demand prioritization, and the ability to adapt to change are cited as key enablers to success. The comprehensive study, which features input from more than 600 participants in more than 17 countries, goes into greater detail and makes recommendations for boosting maturity.

With 44% of respondents from product development, the study sheds a light on the most significant pain points and causes, business risks, software use, and best practices ‒‒ for not only PD but cross industry.

Read the complete blog on Portfolio Perspectives and get your complimentary copy of the report from our 2013 Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study page.

"Many organizations are continuing to operate in a state of chaos or limited visibility into what their resources are working on today and what they are available to do tomorrow. A third of organizations have achieved some level of visibility…" Read more about the Resource Management and Capacity Benchmark Study

Stay tuned to Product Pulse for details from product development respondents and follow #RMCP13 to join the conversation on Twitter.

I'd like to hear from you. How are you currently managing your resources and capacity to ensure your people are working on the right opportunities? Post a comment or ask me a question pertaining to the research by leaving a comment below.

Carlson, M. (2013). Resource Management Capacity Planning Benchmark Study. Planview.

Top Innovation and Product Development Resources of 2012

Revisiting Wisdom from Analysts, Thought Leaders, and Practitioners

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2013, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the most popular innovation and portfolio management resources of 2012. These whitepapers and Webcasts feature analysts, thought leaders, and practitioners sharing their wisdom and experience to help us make better, more informed decisions and optimize our limited resources.

Here are five most widely read (and viewed) resources:

  1. PDF: Issue in Focus: Meeting Fixed Product Launch Windows, Managing Portfolios When Time to Market is Non-Negotiable
    In this research report, Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, addresses the critical nature of hitting launch windows and provides insight from successful companies as well as tips for improving the odds of success.
  2. Video / webcast: On-Demand Webcast: Building and Managing an Innovation Portfolio
    Hosted by best-selling business author Jerry Manas, featuring Chip Gliedman, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research, Inc. and Carrie Nauyalis, NPD solution market manager, Planview, this webcast provides insights to help you build and manage your innovation portfolio.
  3. PDF: Ten Proven Military Strategies For Better Resource Planning: Avoiding Custer's Last Stand
    This latest whitepaper from Jerry Manas explores 10 timeless military strategies ‒‒ tried and tested over thousands of years ‒‒ that can be effectively applied toward modern day resource planning.
  4. Video / webcast: On-Demand Webcast: How Technology-Enabled Visibility Lets You Prioritize Products and Optimize Resources
    Find out how product portfolio management (PPM) technology enables organizations to optimize their limited people and financial resources to achieve their product delivery objectives. Featuring Planview, Isabel SA, and Frost & Sullivan.
  5. PDF: The 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study
    With input from more than 1000 product development executives and managers over the last three surveys, this report provides insightful statistics and informative data on the state of product portfolio management along with thought-provoking recommendations for all product development organizations.

Continue the Conversation Online

We're actively engaged in social media connecting product developers and practitioners to the latest news and information in innovation and product portfolio management. Join the conversation by:

Are there other materials that provided you important guidance in 2012? Please use the comment section below to share your favorite white papers, Webcasts, blogs, etc.

Product Portfolio Management: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

How the Product Portfolio Management (PPM) Benchmark Study findings should inform 2013 planning

It's that wonderful time of year again -- planning, planning, and more planning. Where are you and your organization in the portfolio planning process at this point?

  • Patting ourselves on the back because we are done!
  • In the thick of it and taking ibuprofen regularly…
  • Oh my, just getting started, thanks for the reminder.

If you manage a product portfolio, it's likely you have some tough decisions to make for 2013. Given that nearly 70% of organizations reported that they had too many projects for their resources as their top pain point in the 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Survey (2012)*, it's vital to establish the right priorities and decisions about how resources will be used to support a product portfolio going into 2013.

But, that begs the question: how do you make the difficult tradeoffs, such as killing underperforming products and funding new ones, and do you have the data to make the decisions?

3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study Infographic

Taking a look back, we can gain some insight from the Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study and related recommendations. More than 1,000 product development executives and managers have participated in three surveys (conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2012). To refresh your memory on the study, its parameters, findings and recommendations, check out the infographic and download the study today.

Here are some perspectives and recommendations offered in response to the study findings:

Kill Underperformers

First off, you are not alone if your company has a hard time killing underperforming products. Forty-five percent of companies reported that they only kill underperformers "some of the time" and 15% simply don't stop them once they've gone to market. Can companies afford to continue this approach given the top pain point was managing too many projects for their limited resources?

Recommendation 1: Stop underperformers; the planning process is precisely the time to address the process for dealing with underperformers by establishing a centralized location for analytical decision making and visibility, gathering consistent metrics for measurement, and evaluating the entire portfolio with the ultimate goal of directing more resources towards innovation and growth.

Turn on the Lights

The next question is: do you have available and accurate data to make these decisions? All too often, killing a product can be an emotional one or a challenge in certain company cultures. The PPM benchmark studies indicate that many companies either don't have on-demand access to data or don't feel the data is accurate. As an example, in the 2012 study, 55% of companies reported that they are unable to measure the cost of a product launch delay. In terms of accuracy, 40% indicated that their expected revenue forecasts were mostly inaccurate and nearly 45% said their schedule forecasts were mostly inaccurate.

Recommendation 2: Turn on the lights and scrub your data to make sure it's trustworthy. Make sure your dashboard is more than just a pretty picture it needs to have sufficient data integrity to support decision-making. This will serve your company far beyond annual planning because change is constant. The ability to have on-demand access to accurate data to evaluate different scenarios is needed throughout the year.

Get Started

If you have the data, it's easy to access on-demand and you can run various scenarios for your portfolio -- our prediction for you is that you have a bright year ahead. If you are not there yet, there is no better time than the present to get started and consider what your competition is doing. More than 75% of the PPM study participants in 2012 were planning to acquire or implement an automated PPM solution in the next 12 months.

Recommendation 3: Get started -- piecemeal or holistically. Find the most painful part and start to address it. Identify the technology needed, the processes that need updating, and how to go from data in silos to one system to access the truth. Budget for the tools and technology solutions you identify and make it happen.

Drill in on a Microcast about 2013 Planning

I drill further into these recommendations for planning and for 2013 in a new microcast with Carrie Nauyalis. Join us for a frank discussion on planning and portfolio management.

Good luck with your planning efforts and we'll be back to conduct the 4th benchmark study in Spring, 2013. We want to hear from all of you about the latest trends in PPM.

*All statistics from the 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study, conducted by Appleseed Partners and OpenSky Research and sponsored by Planview.

Whose Job is Innovation?

Coffee Talk: The Product Portfolio Mavens Live from University of Texas in Austin, Texas

Howdy! We continue our "Coffee Talk" video series on the Planview YouTube Channel -- all about the latest news and trends taking place in innovation and Product Portfolio Management (PPM). This month's "Talk" comes to you from the University of Texas Campus in Austin where the Product Portfolio Mavens share insights discussed during the innovation workshop offered at Planview's user conference and from the recent PDMA PIM conference.

The "Integrated Innovation: Making Innovation Everyone's Job" workshop, generated a lot of dialogue. In the "Talk" the Mavens offer key takeaways presented in their own unique way. Some comments they share:

Coffee Talk: The Product Portfolio Mavens Live from University of Texas in Austin, Texas
Pamela Soin and Carrie Nauyalis

"You gotta have executive support to run your innovation program."

"Closed-loop learning is so important."

"Process is not just for process sake."

View the "Talk" to learn the outcome of the resource management discussion. You'll also find out more about Carrie's time at PDMA's PIM Conference and what inspired her about comparisons between companies that are the best versus the rest!

Check out these quick links to learn more on the topics the Mavens cover this month:

Have suggestions for future Coffee Talk locations? Know a hot topic you'd like the Mavens to weigh in on? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

Overheard at Optimizing Innovation NYC

I recently attended the Optimizing Innovation Conference in NYC as Planview was a sponsor. Initially, I was surprised that half of the attendees had traveled from Europe just for a two-day conference. Once the sessions began, I quickly understood their motivation. Speakers from Levi® Strauss, NASA, MTV Networks, Goodyear®, Mozilla, Kraft, and many other companies whose brands are household names offered insight into innovation challenges they've faced and the solutions they've discovered. The amount of transparency was truly impressive and the resulting discussions between participants around the tables matched the wisdom and honesty modeled by the speakers. I can't possibly sum up all that I learned in a blog (perhaps an article or a mini-novella is in order), but these quotes from attendees and speakers provide some valuable nuggets that will hopefully generate dialogue between you and your colleagues:

Optimizing Innovation Conference Introduction

  • "Celebrate doing, not perfection" and "Failure is not a word in our environment." Much discussion was had around how to create an innovation-friendly environment. Many attendees admitted that while lots of the ideas had merit, their organizations are risk-averse and cultural change is not easy to accomplish -- but without a doubt critical for breakthrough innovation.
  • "Genius lives in all of us." The concept that innovative genius is cultivated rather than a component to one's DNA that is either present or not was propagated by Karen Freidt of NASA. She shared techniques she utilizes in her classes for the agency's Enhancing Your Creative Genius course, which truly stirs up even the most reserved personality types as they discover an inner creative spirit.
  • "Copy and adapt with pride." Sometimes we only feel smart if we figure something out from scratch -- the result can be the old "reinventing the wheel" scenario. The sentiment recognizes that as so many great ideas and products already exist, quite often we just need to put our egos aside, learn from what already is and adapt it for our needs, goals, and market.
  • "Don't steal babies." To encourage everyone in your company to contribute to innovation ('cause you never know where that next great idea will come from), employees must trust that they will be allowed to participate in the development process. Speakers from Danone, Mattel®, Fisher-Price®, and Motorola Solutions shared their collaborative ideation programs (including processes and tools) and demonstrated viable ways to keep innovators connected to their ideas.
  • "By 2050 there'll be nine billion people on earth. We'll need three planets to provide enough resources unless we do something different soon." The impact of this statement was not lost to the participants in the room. There is a tremendous burden on today's companies not only to drive profits but to do so with a higher level of environmental responsibility than before. The need, however, is not just to develop products more responsibly but also to develop products that will solve problems.

The final speaker of the conference shared an approach to innovation that can give us all pause as we think about how we are solving problems. Live Well Collaborative is an innovation incubator that partners with the University of Cincinnati and member organizations to develop products and services to meet the needs of the 50+ population. This collaborative provides real-world experience for college students and utilizes their fresh perspective to come up with innovative solutions. Companies, such as Kraft and Boeing, leverage this opportunity to develop new ideas to real business and world challenges.

Citi Talk at Optimizing Innovation 2012

Spending two days with folks who are committed to finding solutions to not only their companies' business challenges but, in some cases, challenges our world is facing, was truly inspiring. I'm motivated to keep track of these companies and see how they continue to innovate and what fresh perspectives they bring to the process.

Do you have a fresh perspective on innovation? What problems are you looking to solve? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.