Special Challenges in Electronic and Computer Based New Product Development

The management of new product development involving electronic and computer-oriented consumer and system products is a special case because of the challenges created by high technology and complex systems. This chapter explores the process of producing new products in this field and especially the management of project risk and the big picture. By "the big picture," we mean the high level, external factors that often lead to new product project failure despite the fact that the product itself performs as designed in development. These factors are often external to the project team—in the company organization and culture, or in the global marketplace. They are often missed by the technical and engineering personnel in the project team because of the tendency to fix narrowly on the product itself and its design and function, and not on the the company's success in getting it successfully to market.

Technical new product development in this field can go wrong because of several factors:

■ Developing and producing a new product that functions as required but cannot be produced, distributed, marketed, and supported successfully. This is the function of program management as opposed to project management. Program management sees the product through all of its cycles from requirements to sales and support, while project management may tend to take a narrow view within the bounds of cost, schedule, and quality.

■ Lack of top management support, e.g., if the new product does not have a top manager or sponsor who can steward the product, it may not get the attention and resources it needs to succeed.

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■ Organizational mismanagement and lack of good administration, e.g., because new product development involves innovative and creative people who often do not value routine procedures, administration, time, and cost, program management can lose control

■ Misalignment with business plans, e.g., offline from the company's real strengths, i.e., sometimes the ideation process produces product concepts that are simply too far removed from the company's core competence, and therefore a whole new system of thinking and new workforce resources are necessary to implement, often unsuccessfully

■ Keeping marketing out of the process until too late, e.g., excluding marketing and sales issues and commitments from the product design and development process, or vica versa, marketing goes out too far to commit to a product unproven and untested

■ Letting engineers run projects without training in management, e.g project management by accident, the process of appointing project leaders because of their technical skills rather than their management, leadership, and communication skills

■ Too many new product projects in the pipeline at once; excessive multitasking because of an overly aggressive management posture

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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