The Top 10 Product Development Metrics: Then & Now

GGI started doing primary research on the penetration of specific metrics in R&D and Product Development in 1998. Now 2017, about 20 years time, we have taken the pulse six times.  Once every 3-4 years is a good cadence for R&D.  Process change takes more time in long duration business functions, such as the innovation functions, and then metrics follow.

There are always incremental changes in each research effort, and a few new metrics like the “Vitality Index” and “ROInnovation” that arise out of the blue, but the overall tenor remained the same.  CEOs accepted “activity metrics” from R&D.  This has been true since the start of my career.

Well, evolving from the economic challenges of this past decade, CEOs now expect business performance metrics to a much greater extent.  Activity metrics still prevail among the top cross-industry metrics, but the tide has clearly shifted. New Product Revenues (aka Vitality Index) cracked the Top 10 in the early 2000s.  But, not a single measure of profit could be seen – until recently.

Business performance measures musn’t always be about revenue and profits, by any means.  The point is that there has been “a glaring absence of any prevalence of true performance measures.”

The additions, changes, and rearrangements in the Top 10 won’t knock your socks off.  But, given the decades of historical consistency, this is great progress in the advancement of management science for the creative functions.

We looked at 101 different corporate-level metrics.  Here are the Top 10.  You be the judge.


Top 10: Historical



Top 10: Today



Top 10 Product Development Metrics: Then & Now [Machine Design – September 2017] identifies the top ten metrics, the degree of penetration across industries, and discusses the macro change that has taken place in the recent decade.




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