Today’s buying customers are more autonomous and independent in their buying decisions than ever before. Problem solving and solution seeking customer expects easy buying – helping, serving and guiding information in connection to smooth acquiring process.
Changing customer behavior is changing new product development to be more and more customer centric. Besides being desirable and useful, a new product needs to be technically functional, environmentally friendly and commercially profitable. Companies are opening their new product development processes to customer participation. Already in the Fuzzy Front End –phase of the project, customer data is used and customers are giving feedback and commenting on preliminary specifications. This sets new demands for NPD-process.
Even though the customer is in the center of NPD-process, to develop and launch a new product is still a major investment for any company. The quicker the project is carried out the quicker the product becomes profitable and the investment gets paid back.
NPD-project needs a project plan, schedule, responsible manager and team members and a budget as any other project. The basic set of project management tools and techniques work great in an NPD-project. Customer involvement brings a new task - content management – to the project model. Digitalization is affecting the speed of development and market entrance. This can be seen in the model as early start of marketing and customer interaction.
It has been said that twelve-month product-release cycles are a relic in the digital world. To our experience they still exist and perhaps will exist in the future as well. Instead of fixing a time frame for product-release cycles, companies should think of moving into continuous NPD-projects that will last throughout the life cycle of a product. Continuous development requires continuous testing and experimenting in interaction with customer. Quick response to gathered information and customer response is essential in successful NPD. Every step in the continuous NPD project model is a decision point, where the product is evaluated and the decision of its future is made.
We, at Mint Consulting are working eagerly with our customers to create winning continuous new product development processes for digital businesses.