In my last post I discussed how product organizations are using ineffective tools to manage their product portfolio and that it’s likely cutting into their bottom line due to inefficient resource utilization and missed deadlines when bringing products to market. Still, how do you know when you’ve reached the tipping point, and when it’s really time to invest in a true PPM option?
In a recent report from Tech-Clarity on product portfolio management, analyst Jim Brown identifies twelve signposts that indicate it’s time to begin your PPM journey. In this blog, I’ll focus in on five of the twelve and provide reasons why they are causing your organization to strain under your current processes and tools.
1. Late Projects and Missed Deadlines
Nothing kills margin like missed deadlines. With each missed product release the organization suffers from unrecognized potential revenue the product would have brought in from being on the market. This problem compounds for markets where timing is critical to the success or failure of the product, like winter holidays or Valentine’s Day.
2. Resource Shortages, Resource Conflicts, and Overloaded Teams
One of the most difficult problems managers face is the allocation of their people. Consider how often you’ve noticed one resources overburdened while others remain idle? Or perhaps a project gets approved but no one is available to work on it. These problems extend past simply having enough people. Tasking a resource with the wrong skill set can create just as much of a strain on your bottom line in terms of cost per product and time to market.
3. No Central Visibility to Portfolio Investments Across the Business
The first two items on this list are symptoms of the same problem. Lack of visibility across the enterprise and across the product development lifecycle creates nearly insurmountable difficulties. Without a global perspective it is nearly impossible to quickly and accurately see the metrics that will make your organization successful, such as: which products are using too many resources, what product is running over budget, which is behind schedule, what product currently on the market is too costly to support, who’s working on what, and should they be working on that?
4. Process Exceeding the Capabilities of Complex and Difficult to Maintain Spreadsheets
Chances are, if you are suffering from the previous point, you’re relying on spreadsheets to manage your commercialization process. Spreadsheets have their place, but not when you’re working across large teams on several products. Spreadsheet obsolescence starts the moment you share them, making them almost untenable for complex project and product management. Think about how far you typically get in meetings before you realize you’re not all working from the latest version of a document.
5. Executives (and Others) Not Able to Articulate Priorities and/or Innovation Strategy
Failing to have effective vision and execution in the product development lifecycle reverberates across the enterprise. So far, I’ve spent efforts explaining the impact to the execution of projects and products. However, for executives and leadership, the blind spots created by ineffective tools lead to real struggles in road mapping an effective innovation strategy. Without the visible connection between objectives and executed projects, your organization will struggle to compete.
Ultimately, each of the signposts are indicative of a single reality: your organization’s product development department is ready to mature. To do so you need a solution that will allow you to maximize your two greatest product development assets: money and people.
To read the remaining seven of twelve signposts and tips on what to do, get your free copy of Tech-Clarity’s PPM Buyer Guide, An Action Plan to Improve Your Product Portfolio.