Does your R&D organization have closed-loop decision making? If not, increasing the robustness of your post-launch reviews may help.
Manufacturing and operations professionals, in just about every company, have achieved closed-loop decision-making over the past three decades. When the yield of any work center is lower than expected, engineers track down the root causes and fix them. At the business level across the entire factory, when there is not enough finished goods inventory on hand and orders are short shipped, management tracks down the root causes and fixes them. The opportunity to do the same is still on the table for most managers and executives who direct engineering and product development professionals and organizations.
The yield of a work center is a much different animal in product development so let’s not address engineering work centers at this time. However, at the business level across the entire product development organization(s), there are several opportunities to improve both the development team’s and management’s ability to learn from the project/product and better decision making the next time around.
A “project” is a temporary organization vehicle used to develop new products. Companies don’t sell projects; they sell products that result from projects. Team reviews should have a heavy project emphasis. Management reviews should have a heavy product emphasis. Of course there is overlap, but it is not that difficult to draw a fairly clean line as to what in a product should be part of a team project review and what in a project should be part of a management product review.
Post-Launch Reviews Improve New Product Performance [Machine Design – June 2015] discusses the similarities and differences between team and management post-launch reviews, and offers suggestions for how each type of review might be improved.