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9 Common Product Development Problems

As product development consultants, we have experienced the following problems listed below.  They may seem overwhelming but they can be solved!

1) Nobody within your organization expects a new product to be launched on time

We have worked across organizations, that have meager expectations regarding a product being delivered on-time. But when everyone knows to double the estimated project timeline to add multiple buffers, something is wrong. Causes can include over-loaded resources, unexpected but foreseeable problems, and frequently changing requirements.

2) Over-budget is the norm

Again, occasional misses happen, but ballooning budgets make more than the finance department weep. Causes can include: unanticipated manufacturing fixtures and equipment, adding resources to make up lost time and over-loading products with unnecessary features.

3) It’s a miracle if the new product meets its sales goals

You’ll need a miracle if: you forget to ask Sales what is reasonable, you forget to factor in adoption time on new products, you forget to budget for appropriate promotions, or you miss the assumed launch date.

4) Team meetings are stressful and conflict-heavy

Stress and conflict do not have to be the norm, and I’m not talking about “creative tension.” If team members don’t understand their roles & responsibilities or lack the necessary skills to perform their tasks; if department heads are fighting over priorities and doing their own thing; or senior leadership provides no direction, there’s going to be conflict. No amount of team-building events will fix this.

5) Departments have different priorities

When departments are not in alignment, the teams know they are getting conflicting orders. This creates stress and conflict, but it also slows down projects because they are short-changed on the resources required to execute the project. And the impact isn’t limited to one team; slow-downs on one team can impact other projects as team members try to adjust and accommodate the resource-starved project.

6) “What’s our strategy?” is a common lament in the grapevine

Don’t expect people to hear it through the grapevine. The strategy is critical to decision-making, project prioritization, department alignment, and resource allocation. If you fail to state and communicate your strategy, be prepared for some surprising (in a bad way) projects.

7) Everyone feels overloaded with work and deliverables are late

It is so tempting to preempt a project for an important customer. The project teams can adapt or work a little harder, right? But, the truth is too much multi-tasking does slow down the whole system. Abdicating responsibility for proper resource management will create a disaster.

8) Project meetings have become a dog, and pony shows, complete with smoke and mirrors

Sometimes project meetings become opportunities to get face time with the leadership. Everyone wants to look good, so teams are expected to take time away from project work to create impressive decks and downplay (or hide) problems. This situation benefits no one. Project meetings need to be working meetings where unadorned factual and relevant information is shared and discussed.

9) Product teams don’t understand the uncertainty and risk in their product development projects

Companies lack a firm grasp of the uncertainty and risk in their product development projects and frequently take on projects that are riskier than perceived. Surprises cause delays, and projects that should already have been killed are a drain on time and resources that could easily amount to $millions for a single failed product (consider the Product Risk Framework).

Most companies experience these problems, and you’re not alone! We are experts in helping companies overcome these issues, contact: Mary Drotar or +1-708-829-7470.

Strategy 2 Market helps companies increase growth and decrease product development complexity. The Product Risk Framework business intelligence software tool helps product teams prevent product failure and confidently pursue riskier higher return projects.

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