October 19, 2008

New products are always important for a company as they are the future cash cows. A constant flow of new products which get accepted by the consumers is key to any company's health. But at the same time, if new products and their development is not managed properly, they turn out to be resource guzzlers rather than revenue generators.

Here are a few tips on managing your new product development process so that new products emerge to become assets rather than liabilities:
  1. There is difference between a planned baby and a one night stand baby. Never think of investing your time, energy, and resources in a new product unless you are sure consumers would buy it. Just because something catches your fancy is not a good enough reason to bring in a new product.
  2. Developing new products is like planning your babies. You must assess the needs of your new products and plan for adequate resources to make sure that after their birth they survive and thrive in the big bad world.
  3. Don't rush. Let the new product follow the complete evolutionary process. It takes 9 months for a human embryo to develop into a fully developed baby. Let your product idea follow the complete developmental cycle before you throw the baby out of the incubator into the hands of consumers.
  4. Just like you keep a time interval between two babies, keep a reasonable time lag between launch of new products. This will ensure that the newly born product gets proper attention and care by all stakeholders. This will help in proper growth and health of the new product. If you throw too many new products in quick succession, chances are high that attention of the management would get divided and too many weak children you will have around you. This is particularly true for established companies with a well entrenched product portfolio. The over stretched sales and marketing team is mostly preoccupied with established products (cash cows and stars) and if you thrust too many new products in quick succession, your sales team gets bewildered. Ultimately, divided attention from sales team would ensure failure rather than success kissing your feet more often.
To sum up the whole thing, there is only one rule for managing new product development. The rule says - "whenever you are faced with a question or a decision about any thing related to new product development, ask yourself what would you do had it been your baby and not a product."