The purpose of our NPD consultancy service is to help the client to define or improve an NPD process that would be used for future product development.
The most common reasons for having a more formal NPD process are:
- To improve NPD performance.
- As a quality control mechanism for the delivery of the product.
- To provide a common framework to which everyone can work.
- To give visibility to management of each project’s status.
- To provide reliable data to various company plans; financial, resources etc.
- As a risk control method, by weeding out weak projects before too much is spent on them.
- To feed into a Portfolio Management process (see later)
We make no assumption as to the type of process that is most suitable for you. We explain the different types and then discuss which would be the best starting point to define your own process.
If you don’t already have a process, the purpose is to design the structure of a process that will be suitable for your company and industry. To do this we start with one of the standard templates that we have available. If you have a process, but it is not functioning as well as it might, the purpose is to improve it.
We normally operate ‘Workshop’-style sessions with your chosen team where everyone participates. Elite Consulting’s role would be that of a facilitator and consultant, guiding the discussion and making sure that everyone has a chance to contribute. Whilst we are not conversant with the way your company operates and we are not experts on every industry, we would expect to bring ideas and suggestions from our general experience to help develop a process that is suitable for your purpose. We have a generic process available that can act as starting point, or we can undertake a process-mapping exercise for your current process, however informal that is.
Outcome & Deliverables
At the end of the engagement we would expect to have developed the initial framework of an NPD process that would be suitable, together with the main activities for each stage and the key requirements for each gate. We would also have covered other aspects, finishing with a discussion about the next steps. A typical agenda for a fairly simple process in a small company, lasting one day is shown below. In a larger company or with a more complex process(es), it may not be possible to cover the later items in one day. Please note that more detail can be added later.
We have a number of package options available.
Bronze – One-Day Consultancy Session
In one day, there is not usually enough time to cover everything in depth, so it is suggested that we will concentrate on the key aspects. This is often suitable for a small company/simple process.
The day usually starts with an overview of NPD processes in general, and those relating to your industry in particular.
Then the bulk of the day is devoted to developing the skeleton of an NPD process that will be suitable for your company, e.g.
- The number of stages and gates
- The major activities in each stage
- The key criteria at each gateway
If more than one type of project is undertaken and it is felt that they may need different processes, then it may be possible to cover that in the same session, but often it is found that further time is required.
Silver – Three-Day Consultancy Session
If the process is more complex, or the company is of medium size, then a 3-day session may be more appropriate. A typical plan might be
- Day 1 – As per above, but without covering gates and project management
- Day 2 – Put a bit more detail in the process, and develop gates & gatekeepers
- Day 3 – Consider project management aspects, portfolio management, links to other processes and roll-out plan
The days do not have to be consecutive.
Gold – Five-Day Consultancy Session
For very complex or multiple processes, or if the company is of large size, a 5-day session may be more appropriate. A typical plan might be
- Day 1 – Overall process plan, then concentrate on early stages
- Day 2 – Develop middle stages
- Day 3 – Develop final stages
- Day 4 – Develop gates & gatekeepers
- Day 5 – Consider project management aspects, portfolio management, links to other processes and roll-out plan
The days do not have to be consecutive.
plus Platinum – Longer Engagement – Multiple Days
As many days as you want, in any combination of on-site and off-site.
In all cases you can buy extensions to the number of days or a further package if you wish.
Live notes will be taken in various formats, e.g. on flipcharts, whiteboards, ‘Post-It’ notes, and on computer during the course of the day. These raw notes can be left with the client for translation into a final report/presentation/documented process by the client, or Elite Consulting can take them away and turn them into a final report, in Powerpoint format, if required. This can then be emailed to the client, and if desired can be presented back to management on a suitable occasion. (Note this will typically take an extra day)
Elite Consulting will bring a lap-top, a projector and ‘Post-its’. It is assumed that the client will arrange a suitable room, with a screen, whiteboard and flipchart, plus wall-space to pin up charts, notes etc.
It is up to the client who attends. However a good process is usually multi-disciplinary, encompassing the relevant activities from all the departments who are involved and linking them together, so that everyone can see and understand the whole process, their role in it and the interactions that are necessary for the process to run smoothly. Therefore at least one representative from the following departments is usually present:
- Product Development
Other departments that can be involved, depending on the company structure and the type of process might be,
- Customer Support/Service
- Human Resources (if there is a lot of training involved)
- Product Management
- Project Management
A typical agenda for a one day session is as follows;
9.15am Why we are here and what we want to achieve – the client
9.25am Briefing about NPD Processes – Elite Consulting
9.50am Agree Plan for the Day – Elite Consulting
10.00am Coffee Break
10.15am Develop Overview of Client’s NPD Process – Number of Stages & Gates
11.15am Develop Initial Stages – Main Tasks & Key Gate Requirements
1.00pm Develop ‘Middle’ Stages – Main Tasks & Key Gate Requirements
2.00pm Develop ‘Final’ Stages – Main Tasks & Key Gate Requirements
3.00pm Coffee Break
3.15pm Gatekeepers & Gatekeeping – Pass/Fail Criteria
4.15pm Project Management
4.45pm Other Aspects; Implementation, Tools, Training etc.
5.15pm Wrap Up and Next Tasks
An initial assumption has been made about timing, but we can be flexible about this.
Please contact us to discuss your requirements.