Entroids.com New Product Development Stage Gate &Lean Startup Methods Provide Clarity On “What” To Do In NPD And Project Management Tools Are Required For “How” To Manage NPD. Entroids is the best way Entroids way
Contents 3 4 6 7 9 12 14 15 The Problem The What & How in NPD The Solution Why use Think-Plan-Do Framework Tier 1 – Think Project Needs Tier 2 – Create the Tactical Plan Tier 3 – Focus on Right Actions Make accountability & Focus a Habit
Chapter 1 The problem Many New Products Fail Because They Are Poorly Managed In Execution Over 90% of new products fail. Poor execution of a great idea is one of the top reasons for failure of a great idea. New product development (NPD) is challenging because it needs to be nimble and lean. In NPD, change is the norm. Market requirements change as you experiment and learn from customers. Technology risks frequently throw challenging curve balls. Adding to the frenzy, schedule changes frequently. If anything, it might get pulled up with new customer commitments. Poor execution of commercialization is a top reason for new product failures. Chaotic world of NPD requires execution to be lean and flexible – to avoid wasted effort and resources Execution needs to be lean for many reasons. The team has to change course frequently to avoid wasted resources and money. It is easy to run over budget and waste time by working on the wrong things. Team members often work on multiple projects. This makes it difficult to communicate and focus on the right things. Team members are constantly drawn to and get bogged with constant firefighting in ongoing operations and urgent tasks. Squeaky wheel always gets the grease; hence, busy work can bury what is important.
Chapter 2 The “What” and “How” in NPD execution Stage Gate Or Lean Startup Methods Provide Clarity On “What” To Do In NPD And Project Management Tools Are Required For “How” To Manage NPD • Conventional Project Management Tools do not Meet NPD Needs • Project management tools in the simplest format are task management and collaboration tools. These are great for small projects and personal productivity. Ex: Trello, Basecamp etc. • Conventional project management evolved in the construction industry through Critical Path Methods and ways to maximize man and machine utilization. The end goal is defined and tool ensures the fasted and low cost way to achieve the end goal. Ex: MS project • With the surge in IT projects, Scrum and agile tools were developed to convert the story boards to functioning software products. • In NPD the end goal is not defined and the story board is uncertain. Market and technology risks exist. NPD execution needs to be lean and flexible. Entroids is a tool made for engineering and technology NPD. NPD projects use methods like Stage Gate or Lean Startup as a guide for “what” to do in execution and some kind of project management tools to collaborate and organize for “how” to deliver results. The “what” and “how” are important in success. “What” to do is well researched. There are many methods like Stage Gate roadmap by Dr. Robert Cooper or Lean Startup process by Eric Riese. But, “how” to deliver results is ad hoc at best. Project management tools are used in “how”, but they do not serve the needs of NPD. Conventional project management tools are task and collaboration tools. But NPD needs more. NPD requires disciplined action, which is a combination of sound tactical planning and timely action. It behooves on the project leader to do the tactical planning and adjust tasks and actions in real time. The project manager becomes the project sitter. NPD requires disciplined action which is a combination of sound tactical planning and timely action. Conventional project management tools do not help with both.
Conventional project management tools need a lot of work to create and maintain. When change is the norm, maintaining changes is a constant chore. These tools do not help you determine what is important, and identify tasks that slipped through the cracks or which team member needs help in focusing on right priorities or which important risks or requirements are slacking and which ones are getting most momentum. Project management in NPD is little art and little science
Chapter 3 The Solution Entroids introduces the “Think-Plan-Do” framework for execution – A GPS for NPD journey If you are planning a long road trip, it is likely that you will use the zoom functionality in the mapping software while planning activities on route. You do not pan through several hundred screens at street level. Yet, with Gantt tools that is exactly what it feels like when you pan through hundreds of rows of tasks. In product development you need the ability to zoom into tactical details and then be able to zoom out to higher level to see the lay of the land and be able to zoom into another area of the project execution. Think-plan-do framework links strategic project needs to team’s current actions – enabling you to zoom in and out of your execution journey like google maps Think-Plan-Do framework for product development connects the high level strategic project needs to daily actions and gives the ability to easily step back and forth from high level needs to actions deep in the trenches of execution. The framework has a three tiered structure. At the top tier are the important project needs such as risks, milestones and requirements. The second tier is the tactical plan. Plan the major tasks required for each high level project need. This is the bridge from strategic project needs to activities. The third tier is where all the actions reside. These are the nugget sized actions required to complete the planned major tasks.
Chapter 4 Why you use Think-Plan-Do framework Smart diagnostics and analytics help reduce cognitive load required to update and manage projects Spend less time in planning Reacting to change in project management is a breeze. Whether a high level need changed causing a different tactical plan or if there is new learning in the field that affects a high level need. The changing course is visible and easy to manage, because of the linkage of tactics and plans through the three tier structure. Communication Communication of the changing priorities and focus becomes easy. This is no longer dependent on the project leader. Lean execution The tight alignment from the top and down ensures that there are no wasted efforts. Visual Management Visual dashboards improve transparency and productivity. Dashboards quickly provide revealing insights on problems in execution. • Thought Leadership Put Into Action • We learnt from experts and packaged the principles in a easy to use practical tool. Some of the sources of inspiration are below; • The Lean Startup By Eric Ries • Business Model Generation By Alex Osterwalder • Execution By Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan • First Things First By Stephen Covey • Mastering Lean Product Development By Ronald Mascitelli • The 4 Disciplines Of Execution By Chris McChesney & Sean Covey Automate accountability Visually see each team member’s progress and contribution. Switch between team view and personal view in all tiers with a simple toggle. Smart diagnostics Quickly see what slipped through the crack s with built in alerts and diagnostics. This reduces the cognitive burden and human dependency in critical functions. Reporting Automatic reports for executives and team members in multiple formats
Tier 1: Strategic Project Needs Not Strategy but Project related most important needs Tier 3: Focus On Actions What needs to be done now Tier 2: Tactical Planning Execution Plan – For Each Need Think-Plan-Do Framework for NPD execution Entroids Way
Chapter 5 Tier 1 -Think Project Needs (Think-Plan-Do) Think tier is the connection to strategic planning. These are the most important needs for project to succeed At the core of NPD there are four pillars of execution in the project management. These identify the most important project needs. Success depends on defining and executing on these four pillars. Below is a description of each pillar and is presented as a separate visual tool. The four tools can be accessed in the THINK tab on the website. The four pillars of execution are Business model hypothesis, Risks, Product Requirements & Milestones. THINK tier provides visual tools for each pillar. It is the link to strategic planning. The four pillars of execution Business Model Canvas A product (or service) is a solution to an urgent and widespread problem. The solution starts as a hypothesis based on several assumptions. There are nine important types of hypothesis to consider that are captured on the business model canvas. State the hypothesis on the one page canvas and create experiments to validate and refine the product and solution.
The famous one page business model canvas by Alex Osterwalder has been adapted to make it more actionable for engineering NPDs 9 segments In A Business Model Canvas 2. Risks There are two broad types of NPD projects -evolutionary and breakthrough products. Evolutionary products are derivatives of an existing product, and breakthrough products disrupt existing market and products. Both are important, evolutionary products meet existing customer needs and keep the lights on. They are important to sustain an organization. Breakthrough products are important for long term growth and adapt to technology and market changes. Any NPD project has significant risks. Evolutionary products primarily have schedule and quality risks and breakthrough products have significant market and technology risks. Understand the risks and mitigate them through the execution journey. Identify your risks in the risk manager tool and actively mitigate them through appropriate tactical plan and timely action. Visual dashboard communicates the severity of risks in terms probability and impact. Probability Impact Five Areas of Risk There are five broad areas of risks: Product: A tangible object, technology or service offered for sale Market: A commercial activity where goods and services are sold Business: A commercial enterprise that produces a product or service to be sold in the market Finance: the capital and cash flow required to achieve milestones that lead to success Execution: the experience, skills and processes required to carry out a business plan. 10
3. Requirements: A product delivers value to customers through a set of features. NPD execution delivers these features at reasonable costs and effort. Not all requirements are equal. There are core requirements that deliver the value proposition and there are other requirements that add expected functionality and improve usability. Lean startup methodology introduced the concept of MVP. Build an MVP of the core features and test the value proposition with customers. Get feedback and refine your features. This is an ongoing process till you have verified and refined all the features. Manage MVP and feature development through visual tools to evaluate requirements on value delivered Vs effort required. Create validations and deliverables and manage their execution seamlessly. 4. Milestones: Guy Kawasaki said execution is about managing milestones, assumptions and tasks. Create milestones in the milestone tracker. If you use stage gate process by Dr Robert Cooper, the gates can be your milestones. Or you can create your own milestones. Create deliverables and actions to attain milestones. Visually track each milestone as to required date vs expected date based on the underlying tasks. Value Effort Required vs. Estimated Great leaders think like a strategist and plan like a tactician. The ability to combine both is rare and makes the difference Entroids seamlessly makes the connection between strategic thinking and tactical planning
Chapter 6 Tier 2 - Plan Major Tasks (Think-Plan-Do) Lay the foundation for execution. Create the tactical plan by defining major tasks required for every need in the Think tools. Strategic project needs identified in the four pillars lead to the plan tier, which is to translate the ‘needs’ into tactical plan. For each need identify one or more major task. Major tasks for risks should be mitigation, requirements should be validation, assumptions on canvas should have experiments etc. The major tasks should be complex requiring significant effort. Generalize and combine actions to create planned major tasks. Creating the major tasks is the trickiest part of using the think-plan-do framework. Resist the temptation to create actions as tasks. Think of Major tasks as goals in execution, driven by project needs defined in the four pillars. Create the tactical plan for each strategic project need. PLAN tier provides a visual Gantt chart to create the tactical plan. Each THINK need is automatically linked to a PLAN item for usability
Productivity expert Stephen Covey uses the analogy of filling jar with rocks and pebbles in explaining planned major tasks. If you have to fill a jar with rocks and pebbles, you achieve more by placing the rocks first and letting the pebbles fill the gaps around the rocks. If you put the pebbles first then there is not enough room to put the rocks. Likewise, in ‘task manager’ plan the rocks of your execution. Tasks are visually managed in a Gantt chart. Each task is executed with many smaller actions. Within the task you can create a list of actions required to execute. In the next section we will show how to create a “pull system” for activities in execution. Achieve more by first placing the rocks. Don’t sort the pebbles Think-Plan-Do framework separates the rocks from the pebbles in execution. Achieve more by focusing on what is important
Chapter 7 Focus on the right actions (Think-Plan-Do) Activities are nugget sized actions that need to be done to complete the major tasks. Separating smaller actions from the Gantt chart makes execution lean. Gantt chart is not cluttered by many smaller actions making it easier to update and maintain. It also helps to focus on the important tactical goals without sorting through a myriad of actions. A separate ‘Current Activities’ tool helps you visually manage all important actions on an activity board. These are presented as sticky notes Execute the tactical plan with each nugget sized action at the right time. Create a pull system of current activities for each planned item in the DO tier. The reality of ongoing operations is that we are constantly pulled into urgent fires to tackle. Important activities are easy to get buried in the whirl wind of daily distractions. Stephen Covey says if you spend more time on the “important” actions then the “urgent” would disappear. Current Activities tool is the visual dashboard of your “important” actions and keeps them in front of you.
Chapter 8 Making accountability & focus a habit With Entroids, you spend less time in planning and more on doing. It is important to establish the discipline of using the tool appropriately. Every day, each team member should review his activity dashboard and update his sticky notes appropriately. This takes 10 minutes or less but is an invaluable reminder of the important things. To create a habit, it helps to tie it to a trigger. Create your trigger to review the Activity dashboard once a day. For example, if you drink coffee, let the first cup of coffee at work trigger you to open the current activities dashboard and review them. If you are not a coffee drinker, tie it to any other established habit that you do consistently. Have a team meeting about once a week or any cadence that applies to your product. In the meeting, as a team, review and update ‘Tier 1 project needs’ (four pillars of execution in the Think tab on Entroids.com) and the ‘Major Tasks’ (Task manager in the Plan tab on Entroids.com). Other things to consider doing in the team meeting are reviewing the reports, alerts and visual dashboards. Catch cracks in your execution and make corrections. In the risk and requirement dashboards, look for high risk and important requirements items (top right quadrant, in the visual dashboard) that do not have planned tasks, see which item had most momentum in your execution. In the milestone tracker, see the required date and expected date for each milestone and if the milestone is expected to slip, explore its related tasks and see what needs to be done to pull it up. In the task manager, all tasks in the current period should have activities, or else you are not moving them forward. • With Entroids, you will spend less time in planning and follow up. Visual tools and TPD framework keeps important things in focus automatically. It is extremely important to build the discipline of using entroids in a systematic way.
About this e-Book ‘Entroids way’ E-book explains the philosophy of think-Plan-Do framework for managing execution of NPD. Entroids is the best way to manage if you use Stage Gate or Lean Startup methodologies. It is created by experienced product managers, in combination with inspiration from thought leaders like – Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder, Eric Reise, Stephen Covey to name a few. The framework visually links strategic project needs to tactical planning and daily actions. This allows smart diagnostics. This makes it easy to make changes on the fly and minimize effort required in managing programs and improve team communication and accountability. Watch this video to learn more