Skip to main content

Time to Market

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.

Four Recommended Articles for Product Development Success


As we quickly transition into the second quarter of 2013, I wanted to share several informative articles from some terrific innovation publications including Innovation Management, Enterprise Apps Today, and Intelligent HQ. A couple of the articles feature insights and recommendations from the newly released Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study; another promotes continued awareness and best practices for meeting launch windows and getting products to market faster, and the last shares key ways to improve your decision making process.

  1. Product Portfolio Management: Getting Products to Market Faster
    Featured earlier this month in Enterprise Apps Today, this article provides insight based on last fall's Issue In Focus: Meeting Product Launch Windows research report. Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, shares how product portfolio management software can help organizations more quickly launch new products.

    Read the article on Enterprise Apps Today.
  2. From Chaos to Control: New Research Reveals the Global State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning
    This article reviews the results from the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, identifying best practices to avoid wasting resources on the wrong opportunities.

    Read the article on InnovationManagement.se and learn how to help your organization stop wasting resources.
  3. Interview with Planview: How does your company's maturity level impact innovation?
    IntelligentHQ interviewed Jerry Manas, bestselling business author, and Maureen Carlson, chief researcher, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study.

    Access the interview on IntelligentHQ and gain insight into your company's maturity level.
  4. Equipped to Face Tough Portfolio Decisions in 2013
    As part of the eLearning program with InnovationManagement.se, this article revisits the three things your product organization can do to improve decision making this year.

    "If you manage a product portfolio, it's likely you have tough decisions to make in 2013. How will you make the tradeoffs, such as killing underperforming products and funding new ones? Do you have the data to make the right decisions?"

    Continue reading on InnovationManagement.se.

Get Social and Join the Conversation

Connect on social media with PD innovators and practitioners.

You can do so by:

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.

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.

Release Management: Are You Looking at the Bigger Picture?


As many of you probably know, releasing a product to market involves a whole system of moving parts. It's not as simple as coming up with a great idea and then seeing it on the shelf a few months later. If only!

The only way to ensure you're meeting time-to-market targets for your new products, and thus having a significant impact on market share and profitability, is to synchronize all of those moving parts. It's a highly-orchestrated process that requires a comprehensive release management initiative. Instead of getting caught up in individual roles or parts of the product release, every department within your company needs visibility into how their piece, which may consist of multiple projects, are impacting the larger release schedule of the product portfolio. Everyone needs to be actively assessing the big picture via a centralized roadmap, proactively communicating any potential roadblocks, collaborating on release details, and working towards one common goal: a successful product release.

And really, it doesn't matter if you're releasing products to market or applications to the business -- the same rules still apply. In fact, in our technology-driven world, IT often has a starring role in developing the software components or applications embedded within the products you use every day.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do all interested parties in the company have access to the requirements delivered in a release?
  • How will this product be messaged and marketed?
  • Is everyone along the supply chain well informed about the timing and impact of release?
  • Is there a central location where all release and product content is stored?
  • Are you able to deliver a long-term visual roadmap to your customers and stakeholders?

If you're tracking all of this information via emails and static spreadsheets, you have my sincere condolences because you're likely living in spreadsheet hell. Increase the number of products you're releasing, and the complexity increases exponentially. I know organizations are struggling with juggling all of these release details -- it's exactly why we made the enhancements we did to the release management capabilities in the newest version of our software. In the end, with the right tools and processes, you will be able to harness the power of all of that disparate information you've been tracking to get products out on time.

One company that has been quite successful in product release management is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. As the world's second fastest growing company, they've had to learn quickly what it means to look at the bigger picture when it comes to ensuring their products are delivered on time to the market. Check out this fascinating webcast to learn more about how they do it.

Three Signs Your Organization is Ready to Implement Product Portfolio Management


Your product pipeline might be perfectly streamlined and efficient. But if you're like many organizations, your portfolio may have some issues that are costing your organization in terms of revenue, product failures, and eventually reputation. Maybe you've wanted to implement a Product Portfolio Management Solution but haven't defined or designed your processes yet. Did you know that it's actually recommended that you go ahead and get started with a PPM solution so you can grow your processes as you go along? Here are some sure-fire ways to gauge whether it's time you invest in a software solution to improve your chances for success.

  1. Failed Market Launches
    Has your organization launched unsuccessful products that have blemished your brand or product line? Have you missed critical time-to-market deadlines that have cost real money? Product Portfolio Management allows you to analyze your portfolio before you make the decision on what will be on your roadmap. It enables you to evaluate every piece of your portfolio so you have a complete picture -- the impact on your brand, competition, resources, sustainability, and bottom line. What has a failed product launch cost you? Chances are, a lot more than what it would cost to implement a solution.

  2. Limited Resources
    You've repeatedly heard and our recent Benchmark Surveys have confirmed that the #1 pain point around Product Portfolio Management is too much work for available resources. You may have people presenting great ideas, but you only have a limited capacity when it comes to people. If you say 'yes' to every good idea, you spread your resources too thin and few of those good ideas actually make it to the market on time. Product Portfolio Management gives you tools to run 'what-if' scenarios before you execute. It allows you to perform comprehensive portfolio analysis to understand your current capacity, usually based on role or skill, and then evaluate all of the things in your pipeline to go on the roadmap to ensure they can actually get done on-time with the available resources. When you use your resource capacity as a filtering mechanism, you have a much higher chance of success.

  3. Market and Product Conditions
    Look at the size of your product catalog and the number of markets you serve. If you have a large number of products, multiple projects that deliver a product, a large number of metrics to analyze the performance of each product, multiple markets or global markets, or if your roadmap is frequently changing, you're ready to centralize and automate your product portfolio to maximize visibility and reduce risk. Are you still updating your roadmap manually through PowerPoint? That's a not just a sign, but a neon flashing sign telling you it's time to convert to a formal solution.

Take a look at your current product portfolio and see if any of the 3 signs above are present. If so, you just might be ready to call in reinforcements!

Move Over P&G and J&J: Now There's Something a Little More "Quirky" in the Mix


Consumer Goods Growth & Innovation Forum Review -- Part 1 of 3

The 2010 Consumer Goods Growth and Innovation Forum just concluded in South Beach on Friday with a big bang… including a spontaneous and refreshing F-bomb from an amazing new innovator. But, more on him in a moment.

This year's conference, produced by CGT, had a theme of New Product Resurgence: Bringing Back the Consumer and Driving Growth. The conference presenters represented a who's who list of consumer product giants, including Kraft, Mars, Colgate-Palmolive, and Kimberly-Clark. They covered a variety of topics on everything from Brand Management to Developing Leadership and Talent. The sessions and personal exchanges amongst the 50+ executive attendees were rich, engaging, and motivated towards sincere, helpful solutions based on real-life experiences.

One of the biggest highlights of the event was the presentation of the Innovation Awards. Some of the winners included the new Liquid Pencil made by Newell Rubbermaid, the new Jeans Diaper made by Kimberly-Clark, and the big, grand prize winner: MooBella Ice Creamery Machines. While all of the attendees were given a Liquid Pencil (I used mine to draft this blog post -- thank goodness it erases!), we were disappointed that there were no MooBella samples to enjoy. (Hint, Hint for next year, Bruce!)

For me, the two presentations that stood out the most were Ben Kaufman, Founder and CEO of Quirky, on Group Think Tank, and Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association on Reaching the Consumer Through Mobile Marketing because they demonstrated the true spirit of innovation, how quickly consumers are maturing, and how rapidly the products game is changing overall.

While Michael Becker's presentation on Mobile Marketing left many furiously adding items to their marketing To Do List (more on him in Part 2 of this Forum Review), I must first share my enthusiasm for the presenter who left my jaw hanging open. Please allow me to introduce to Ben Kaufman:

  • Ben started his first company, Mophie, the day he graduated from high school.
  • Six months later, Mophie took home the Best of Show award in the innovation category at MacWorld with his invention: the Song Sling for the iPod Shuffle.
  • The next year at MacWorld, Kaufman felt like he had to top the previous year's win, so he handed out pencils and notepads to attendees on the trade floor, asking them to come up with new product ideas for the iPod accessories. The crowd delivered with 120 unique ideas. The Mophie gang scanned them in, allowing over 30,000 people from around the world to collaborate to develop a brand new product in 72 hours: the Bevy.
  • Ben Kaufman was named the #1 Entrepreneur under 30 by Inc. Magazine in 2007.
  • Mophie got acquired around the same time and Ben immediately started his next company, Kluster, to develop the technology platform to gather direct consumer feedback from around the world.
  • Based on Kluster's technology, he then founded his current passion: Quirky. Ben wanted to share the thrill of taking a product to market with the world. So every week, ideas are submitted online, the community votes, submits product names, comes up with a logo, and by Friday afternoon a new product is born. Everyone who participates in the process shares in the profit. Killer, huh?
  • Oh, and did I mention he's is only 23. He'll turn 24 next month. Happy Birthday, Ben!

Kaufman's keynote presentation covered much of his personal history, which, in itself, is completely inspiring and fascinating. But he had some terrific lessons learned to share with the legendary experts in the room, especially as it relates to innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. Quirky and Kaufman have tapped into the inventor in all of us. Consumer goods companies can certainly learn a lot about the products consumers want to buy from focus groups and customer satisfaction surveys. But the times… they are a changin'. And I believe that innovators like Kaufman are leading the way on how to do this in a new "quirky" way. (Oh, and yes, Ben was the one who dropped the F-bomb during his presentation. It was classic!) smile

Part 2: When Is a Phone No Longer a Phone? When It's a Way to Connect with Your Target Market!

The Product Pulse: What's in a Name?


Welcome to The Product Pulse, our new blog focused on innovation and optimizing the product portfolio.

As you probably know, we didn't just pick this name out of a hat. We held a contest open to the world to help us pick the right name. We had come up with what we thought were some great ideas… but "The Product Pulse" came from one of you. Which is so fitting, because we want this to be a community of interaction on cool topics that matter to the product development community.

So, what about this particular name and tagline manifested the Eureka moment? It came down to a couple of key words, to wit:

  • "Pulse" -- product development teams are living organisms, they have a pulse that is rarely in a state of relaxation (in fact, most of the development teams that I have been a part of spend much more of their time closer to peak heart rate!). Cranking out new products and maintaining existing ones, working to keep existing customers delighted, striving to attract new customers, and driving to establish competitive advantage -- these all keep the heart pumping. My guess is that we are all accustomed to the "pulse."
  • "Innovation" -- here's a loaded word for sure. Innovation has reemerged after a period of cost-focused survival as the number one priority for most product organizations. Innovation is at the heart of what we do, it's the payoff that gets most of us come to work every day, to bring new ideas to market in a way that fuels the success of our customers and our companies. Seems pertinent for us to talk "innovation."
  • Finally, the "Product Portfolio" -- this is where the rubber hits the road. None of us have the luxury of being able to focus exclusively on introducing the newest, latest products to market. Whether or not we refer to it as such, we all manage a "portfolio" of new, mature, successful, struggling, and long-in-the tooth products. How we optimize our performance given this reality is typically the most challenging aspect of our jobs. The everyday trade-offs demanded by our portfolios is our reality and we hope to share ideas on managing this process.

So that's where this blog is starting: rooted in these concepts. We look forward to seeing what it grows into, with your participation. We hope you will find this to be a unique place to engage with peers and thought leaders on the full range of topics that encompass the idea-to-launch-to-ongoing support processes associated with maximizing innovation and managing the product portfolio. Ultimately we hope that you learn (and share!) a few things that make your team more successful and your job a little easier. Thanks for joining us!