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Product Companies Feel Squeeze of Resource Capacity, Struggle With Decision Making in Their Drive to Innovate, Planview Study Reveals

Austin, TX — June 6, 2012 — Product companies are increasingly aware of the weaknesses in their innovation process as competitive pressures mount. They report a critical need to drive more informed pipeline decisions, manage resource capacity effectively, and respond faster to the market, according to a commissioned report by Planview. The third Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study surveyed and analyzed the responses of 320 product development executives from a cross section of industries worldwide.

The research indicates the current approach of using spreadsheets and basic desktop tools is falling short and inhibiting product companies from making fully informed strategic decisions about their product pipeline. The study also finds that more companies in 2012 are seeking to better manage the process of innovation and leverage new solutions, including Product Portfolio Management (PPM), to ease the pain.

Key Takeaways

The third benchmark study finds, by a wider margin than ever before, organizations feel they have too many projects for their resources and continue to fear missing their window of opportunity for new product introductions. The study also finds that less than half of the organizations surveyed understand the real costs of product launch delays. Furthermore, findings indicate that many companies are making critical project and pipeline decisions based on limited and inaccurate data.

Increasing numbers of respondents cited similar pains and risks:

  1. 68 percent indicate they have too many projects for their resources
  2. Nearly three-quarters say their organization is not good at forecasting resource capacity
  3. A full 90 percent are relying on informal ways to integrate their customers' voice into the product development process
  4. 53 percent of respondents are concerned about missing time-to-market, up from 38 percent in 2011
  5. 61 percent identify their organization's top risk as managing changing priorities as business conditions change

Companies continue to acknowledge their inability to prioritize, with more than 90 percent of those surveyed indicating they are not stopping underperforming products immediately, up from the previous two years. The results also find that increasingly companies are seeking near-term strategies to address their challenges with 56 percent of respondents looking to invest in a PPM solution, representing an increase of more than 100 percent from last year.

What They Say

"This year's survey reveals that companies are working at an intense pace to innovate with limited to no increase in resources," said Maureen Carlson, partner, Appleseed Partners. "Companies face many challenges in delivering innovative products to market. Product development executives lack fundamental information and visibility that is central to making critical decisions thus increasing risk. The research indicates that we may be at a turning point with increased acknowledgement of these challenges and awareness about purpose-built solutions and processes that can improve the situation. It will be interesting to see how the lessons learned and the application of more advanced tools, processes and solutions impact product portfolio management in the next couple of years."

What We Say

"The vast majority -- two-thirds of companies -- report keeping steady or increasing their pipelines of projects," said Linda Roach, vice president of marketing and executive sponsor of the survey, Planview. "One of the underlying findings is that companies are striving to innovate more than ever before. With that drive, they are feeling greater pressure and pain. This struggle is leading to an increasing number of companies needing to take steps toward implementing best-practices, and technology, like PPM, to make meaningful progress on gaining real visibility into their commercialization process."

Study Background

To help product development organizations better understand their challenges, Planview, in the first quarter of 2012 commissioned a study of leading product organizations' managers and executives. A key focus of the study is to track the pain points and risks faced by these companies when managing their product portfolios.

Conducted by Appleseed Partners and OpenSky Research, both independent consulting research firms, the study consisted of an online quantitative survey and analysis of the results. For the past three years, the results continue to confirm significant trends on the product development front that are reflective of the marketplace as a whole and characterize the specific realities product organizations face.

The full report is available here:

To access a video webcast, "The State of Product Portfolio Management", presented by Carlson, featuring the initial findings from the benchmark study, including top pain points and risks in managing complex product portfolios, visit the PIPELINE 2012 Virtual Conference On Demand.

To make inquiries or comments about the survey or report, or for permission to use portions of the report in the public domain, please contact

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