Product Development Change

Product development is hard right? things change. Normally yes change and iteration are part of the process. The process of improvement requires rapid changes, prototyping and modification. This type of change is known by professionals in product development.

But what if?

What if change is more than this, the change I am speaking of is starting and canceling programs. Today the company I worked for cancelled a product development program that I have been working on for the past 4 months. How should I even feel about this? how would you feel about this? We diligently went through the process and my team spent a bunch of man hours developing and going through the stagegate. The stagegates were to ensure there was a business, consumer and engineering case that was well thought out, meaningful and the right thing to do.

OK so what went wrong?

Well, the shortest way to put this is the notion of short term thinking. When you are behind, when the business has been lacking for the last few years it makes people act different, think different, be more cautious. It makes you question everything more.

This is what happened: Let’s start this projects….ok cool… we are working… we are working… we are working… wait next year is coming sooner than we thought… ok…cancel that program…done.

Now that is a bleak view and in reality the call to focus resources might have been the best call. But realistically we lost a ton of time.

How could this be avoided?

Be accountable, be responsible and have a vision. Having a vision means you have planned and you can look back on the plan when you start to panic!

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