Fast Track Process

Idea Screen

Go to Development

Go to Launch

Idea Screen

Go to Development

Go to Launch

Scoping and Build the Business Case

Development and Testing

Launch

Postlaunch Review

Stage-Gate® Express is for lower-risk, simpler projects: line extensions, product improvements, product modifications. A two-stage version can be used for single and simple customer requests.

Source: R. G. Cooper, Winning at New Products: Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch, 3rd ed. (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Books, 2001).

First, here are some definitions:

• Technology development (TD) projects are those where the deliverable is new knowledge and a technological capability (also called "science projects" and "fundamental" or "basic research projects"). This new capability or new knowledge may spawn a number of specific new product projects (and thus may overlap with the notion of a platform project—a technology platform). When the TD project begins, there may be no specific new product (or new manufacturing process) well defined. Rather, the scientist initiates some experiments with the hope of finding some technical possibilities and discoveries that might yield ideas for commercial products or processes.

• Disruptive technologies and radical innovations yield projects that are a special subcategory of technology developments What is a disruptive technology? Most new technologies result in improved performance, which can come from incremental innovations or from those that are more radical in character. Most technological advances in industry are sustaining, but "occasionally disruptive technologies emerge: innovations that result in worse performance, at least in the near term."23 These innovations may be inferior to the existing technology when measured on traditional performance metrics, but they bring a new performance dimension or a new value proposition to the market. For example, the first digital cameras produced a poorer picture (lower resolution) than traditional 35mm film cameras and were considered inferior products by most camera users. But for a handful of users, most notably those who wanted the picture in digital format so that they could modify or electronically transmit the photo, such as real estate agents, there was new value in the digital camera.

• Platform projects are defined in the PDMA handbook to be "design and components that are shared by a set of products in a product family. From this platform, numerous derivatives can be designed."24 Thus, Chrysler's engine transmission from its K-car was a platform that spawned other vehicles, including the famous Chrysler minivan.

The notion of platforms has since been broadened to include technological capabilities. For example, ExxonMobil's Metallocene platform is simply a catalyst that has yielded an entirely new generation of polymers. Thus, a platform is like an oil drilling platform in the ocean, which you invest heavily in. From this platform, you can drill many holes relatively quickly and at low cost. Thus, the platform establishes the capability, and this capability spawns many new product projects much more quickly and cost-effectively than starting from scratch each time. A platform project could be based on a new technology or a technology development (above) and is called a technology platform project.

The main difference between these and a typical new product project, for which Stage-Gate in Figure 7.1-1 is designed, is that technology and platform developments are often much broader, more vaguely defined, and more difficult to predict at the outset than is the typical new product project. For example, in a technology development project designed to ultimately yield new products, it may take months of technical research before it's even clear what might be technically possible. So undertaking a market analysis in Stage 1 in Figure 7.1-1 and detailed market studies in Stage 2 makes little sense because the product hasn't even been defined or characterized. And the criteria for project selection are clearly different here than they are for a very tangible, well-defined new product project simply because so little is known about the commercial possibilities early in the life of such projects.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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