Sharper Focus Better Project Prioritization

Most businesses' new product efforts suffer from a lack of focus: too many projects and not enough resources to execute them well.8 Adequate resources are a principal driver of businesses' new product performance, but a lack of resources plagues too many development efforts.9 Sometimes this lack is simply that management has not devoted the needed people and money to the company's new product effort. But often this resource problem stems from trying to do too many projects with a limited set of resources—that is, from a lack of focus, the result of inadequate project evaluations. The root cause of this lack of focus is management's failure to set priorities and make tough go/kill decisions. In short, the gates are weak.

The need is for a new product funnel rather than tunnel. A new product funnel builds in tough go/kill decision points in the form of gates; the poor projects are weeded out; scarce resources are directed toward the truly deserving projects; and more focus is the result (Figure 7.1-3). The expectation is that a certain percentage of projects will be killed at each gate, especially at the earlier ones

Figure 7.1-3 A Funnel Leading to a Tunnel to Weed Out Poor Projects Early

Ideas

Figure 7.1-3 A Funnel Leading to a Tunnel to Weed Out Poor Projects Early

Ideas

Ideas and projects should be successively screened or culled out at each gate, leaving only the best projects in the pipeline—a funneling approach. Once into Development, most of the poor projects have been weeded out, so the funnel begins to resemble a tunnel.

(gates 1, 2, and 3 in Figure 7.1-1). These gates are thus the bailout points where the question is, "Are you still in the game?" They are the quality control checkpoints in the new product process and check the quality, merit, and progress of the project.

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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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