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Are you a mad scientist?

Do you ask yourself this question…’Am I a mad scientist*?’ when your project has doubled in cost, the feature set is stripped beyond recognition, and it no longer meets original customer requirements since they’ve changed numerous times during the project?   And to top it all off, you’re experimenting and trying to solve an important problem…
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What does decentralized decision-making really look like?

Adaptability and the ability to react quickly is paramount to successful product development. Typically, the project team can make better and/or faster decisions than management because they are closer to the details of the project. But, does decentralized decision-making mean leaders are out of a job? No, definitely not. As a leader, it is not…
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Dealing with Uncertainty in Product Development

One of the defining characteristics of product development is making decisions and judgments, in the face of uncertainty. Exploratory Product Development (ExPD) is based on the premise of reducing risks and uncertainty. We’re defining uncertainty as having imperfect or limited knowledge about something, resulting in the potential for surprise or unpredictability in the future. You’ll…
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Look at Product Development Differently … Take a Systems Approach

product development system

Some individuals have tried to simplify product development into two neat, pithy phrases: “choosing the right project” and “doing the project right.” These statements oversimplify the goal and imply that the work, coordination, and decisions involved in choosing the right projects and doing the projects right are simple and straightforward. The truth is, product development…
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Good Questions at Northwestern Event on Exploratory PD

adaptable product development ExPD

Last month we had a lively 2-hour discussion on Exploratory PD® (ExPD) at Northwestern University.  We had good representation from students, practitioners and academics from the engineering, design and business disciplines.   There were a number of excellent questions on how people are reacting to ExPD.  Before I proceed, let me provide you with a quick…
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Product Development New Year’s Resolution: Get a Strategy

If you read our past blog posts, you probably gathered that we believe creating a well-defined strategic framework is one of the most important activities in executing your product development system. This is what we see as consultants when we work with: …organizations that have well-defined strategies: CLARITY Exude a sense of purpose and clarity…
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Strategy and Uncertainty

When developing strategy, we have to make assumptions about the future of technology, customer needs and economic trends; in particular, what will change and how. Because the future is uncertain, we face the risk that our assumptions, and thus our strategy, are wrong. A traditional approach to creating strategy can be described as a waterfall. …
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How to lead product development teams: Mission-Type Orders

As a leader, it is not your responsibility to tell the project team how and what to do with the project, but rather it is to provide the necessary guidelines so they can make easy, adaptable and fast decisions. It’s getting everyone on board to achieve a common goal of a successful product. If you…
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Exploratory PD: An Adaptive Approach to Product Development

exploratory product development

Product developers are under tremendous pressure these days. Executives in product development are asked to bring new products to market faster while being smarter about choosing which projects to pursue. To top it off, their R&D budgets and the size of their product development staffs are decreasing. With reduced resources, businesses are finding it harder…
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Can an established organization act like a startup? No.

An established organization cannot act like a startup.  Can they learn from start-ups and apply techniques from startups? Yes. Recently, Waverly Duetsch, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Chicago Booth of School of Business reported[i]  the burning question she gets from CEOs is “How can we be more entrepreneurial?”  Her answer was that established organizations…
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