For almost any manufacturer, accelerating the time to market of new product introduction is a key strategic imperative within the constantly changing nature of today’s market environments. Aspirational growth targets are fundamental to future business strategy and a large part of achieving this growth will involve the introduction of new opportunities and new products into the business. Accomplishing a seamless new product launch is therefore critical in an organisation’s ability to meet both the constantly evolving market demands and internal growth targets identified within the business strategy. Executing a seamless new product launch however, is a challenging endeavour when taking into consideration the complexity of collaborating with multiple business functions such as engineering, planning, manufacturing, quality assurance and supply chain.
There are various ways in which projects can be approached and a host of ‘methodologies’, ‘frameworks’ and ‘processes’ have been developed over the years. Choosing the right project management approach for your organisation can be a challenge. On the other hand if we think about some of the reasons for NPI project failures the usual suspects come to mind –
- Failure to set expectations and manage them
- Lack of communication at any level
- Inefficient documentation and tracking of progress
- Competing priorities
- Disregard of project warning signs / risks
- Poor planning and/or inadequate structure of process
- Poor project leadership or implementation – inadequately trained project managers or project teams
- Inaccurate cost estimates
The good news is while every project is unique, there are a number of core Project Management principles which underpin success.
As part of a robust NPI approach, organisations must have a Project Management structure that establishes the key stakeholder activities, communication, risk management, lessons learned, change management and customer management. Without good project management embedded many organisations find themselves ‘firefighting’ NPI projects to launch. For a successful product launch project management needs to be a specialist skill on a par with other technical and business skills
What to do?
A good starting point would be to have a definition for project in your organisation and separate it from business as usual. Following this define a structured project management approach. Something to remember is that following a structured project management approach will help us not only to produce successful result for projects today but over a period of time consolidate on the business as usual activities too.
Here are some simple questions to ask within your teams and define your improvement areas related to project management –
- Do we all have a common understanding and awareness of project management principles?
- Do we have a project management approach established with a structured project planning process?
- Do we have effective communication in project teams from start to end of projects – consider planning, assigning, monitoring, controlling and close out of projects?
- Do we effectively manage project risk and changes in the team?
- Do we continuously improve our project management methodologies with a lessons learned feedback loop?
If you can consistently answer yes to all of the above questions than you are not far from having a strong project management pillar in the NPI model. Consider this is as another successful step taken on the journey to achieve product launch excellence.
If you are not quite there, Industry Forum offers both in-house and open courses, as well as one-two-one support to help you on your way to product launch excellence. Contact us today for a no obligation discussion about your requirements.