My golden rule of investment is, “Make your decision when you’ve gathered the most facts and spent the least money.” If you do it right, this point in time is the gate just before the costly development stage. Most companies are far too casual here, letting each team build and present its own unique PowerPoint slides. Human nature says teams will use these slides to talk about their project’s strong points, avoiding weak areas.
So management tries to guess what’s missing: “What about the competition? Are there more technical risks? Is the problem this? Is it something else?” This shell game is waste of time, money and self-respect. Better to have a standard business case everyone works from. Here’s a sample of an abbreviated business case called a Market Case: www.marketcasesample.com
More in 2-minute video, Build a front-end business case
When it comes to transformational R&D projects, clever project de-risking is only half the battle. The other half is gaining the confidence of the entire leadership team. Few teams do this well. Instead they assemble detailed PowerPoint presentations focused on the project’s good points. Within 3 or 4 slides, they confound everyone except their sponsor, the technology head.
More in article, How to de-risk projects and overcome management doubt
Keep your process… but don’t expect a neat, linear progression for all projects. Product development is like preparing a fine meal: There’s a messy kitchen somewhere. Look at the unpredictable, messy paths of your own company’s earlier blockbuster products. You need nimble, open-minded teams to complete such journeys quickly.
More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B
No team wants to waste time on a loser: Life is too short. So if management has to stop a project, the team was inexperienced, communicated poorly, or had different expectations than management. All these ailments are addressed by requiring every team to use a common business case template, not their own, start-from-scratch PowerPoint® presentations.
More in article, How Leaders Can Accelerate New-Product Development