Product Development Metrics

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Too many companies are measuring the wrong things, in the wrong way, and ending up with the wrong results.

Teams are either charged with arbitrary time-to-market goals or tasked with collecting product development metrics because they’re easy to gather rather than useful. As a result, organizations don’t get the benefits from the science or practice of measurement. Even worse, they can focus on validating whether they have succeeded or failed instead of measuring the behaviors that drive success.  

Predictive product development metrics are the solution. Predictive metrics target a specific behavior that drives a clearly defined result. These metrics provide a direct line of sight between the project goal and the three to five key measures. They allow project leadership to seed improvements throughout the organization.

 

Transform product delivery through Predictive Product Development Metrics

 
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John Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. John is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world, including Abbott, Amazon, Apple, BOSE, Cisco, Fitbit, HP, IBM, Roche.

At BOSE, TCGen founder John Carter managed the development of products such as the BOSE® Wave® Music System and Noise-Cancelling Headphones, enjoyed by millions of customers world-wide. In addition, John designed and implemented the Apple New Product Process (ANPP) which is used throughout all product divisions.  With over 25 years of consulting experience in light weight, iterative processes, John has developed an expertise in product development metrics. TCGen’s approach to metrics enables clients to increase the velocity and reliability of new Product development.

TCGen’s engagements typically involve a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs. We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement. We work with teams and management to create custom solutions to address a focused set of challenges. TCGen then works with you to create and deliver a sequenced series of steps, targeting the most important levers of improvement. 

 

Metrics can more often than not lead to bad behavior.

(for example the reputational damage and huge financial impact that Wells Fargo did to themselves with metrics gone wrong). Our research and client work involving over twenty-five implementations of Product Development Metrics, show that the right kind of metric systems, involving a selection of a small number of highly targeted metrics, and short time constants can yield rapid results in increasing team speed and predictability.

We tie metrics to the most important levers of organization improvement. For each of these key improvement levers, we establish a target metric with the aim of seeding the changes within the organization so that they take root. Only when our metrics indicate that an improvement is taking hold do we move on to the next transformation. Metrics that we often use to predict outcomes are behavioral. We measure behavior to manage improvement.  For example, when putting in place a new, and lean set of scrum methodologies, we measure the percent of teams that use the names of these new methodologies in their retrospectives. Very simple, yet precise metrics can be instrumental in gauging a company’s progress.

This inch wide, mile deep approach creates results quickly. TCGen then monitors the behavioral change over time to see that it is taking hold. We use the feedback we receive over time to finetune metrics as needed. We manage change by measuring behavior.

TCGen’s approach includes:

 
  • A lightweight process that manages the day-to-day decisions that move and filter product concepts as they make their way toward the pipeline

  • A yearly strategic planning process for product innovation.

  • A methodology that aligns the Board, the CEO, Business Development and the rest of the C-Suite.  

 

TCGen’s Product Development Metrics expertise addresses a range of problems…

 
  • Too many companies are collecting the wrong metrics, numbers that measure results in the past. Result Metrics are essential to collect but not adequate without predictive metrics that track behavior and drive change.  

  • Some companies are challenged when it comes to product portfolio management and a lack of proper measurements is part of the problem. Within a portfolio of products, a company might direct a targeted percentage of the R&D budget toward those products that involve new technologies and new markets. In this case, the metric you choose should depend on your company’s risk profile, which governs the balance between breakthrough and incremental product development projects. However, this strategic metric measures a result. While it points the arrow toward ‘True North’ it does not measure how effective your 10% investment really is. Ideally, organizations should also have a predictive metric that demonstrates that the team is executing effectively, for example milestone hit rate.

  • As companies grow and programs multiply, discipline can erode. Operational measures as well as predictive metrics to drive specific behaviors instill discipline and encourage continuous improvement as businesses mature. It takes small steps and steady discipline to keep the culture of a company intact – or to improve the culture as the need arises. 

  • Not just for software any more, product companies are beginning to take advantage of the numerous tools in the Agile kit that can help them get an edge. Having the right product development metrics is essential for motivating change and pushing the right levers to shift a culture in the Agile direction

Customized Solutions

Whether you are large or small, a start-up or an established firm, we develop the project plan along with you to create an engagement that achieves measurable product development goals. 

Assessment & Planning

Our proprietary assessment process yields deep insights for your team. We identify the root causes behind the product portfolio management challenges you face and develop solutions that improve your ability to select winners and allocate resource to projects.

Predictive Metrics

Expertise in metrics is a hallmark of TCGen. We rely on measurement to motivate change and monitor progress. We measure the right behaviors to ensure that the changes take hold and continue to produce lasting results.

Sustainable Best Practices

Your investment in TCGen earns increased organizational capability. We not only implement Best Practices but we also teach you how to build on the improvements so that your company is prepared for the next challenge.

We’re making better decisions, faster
— Apple Executive
 

Transform Your Product Development Metrics

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