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Content on How to Modernize Your Product

Strategy, Brought to you compliments of Jama

Six Myths of Product Development
Many companies approach product development as if it were manufacturing, trying to
control costs and improve quality by applying zero-defect, efficiency-focused techniques.
While this tactic can boost the performance of factories, it generally backfires with product
development. The process of designing products is profoundly different from the process of
making them, and the failure of executives to appreciate the differences leads to several
fallacies that actually hurt product-development efforts.

In this article, the authors, an HBS professor and a consultant, expose these misperceptions
and others and look at six dangerous myths.

Why Strategy Execution Unravelsand What to Do About It

Two-thirds to three-quarters of large organizations struggle with execution. And it's no
wonder: Research reveals that several common beliefs about implementing strategy are just
plain wrong. This article debunks five of the most pernicious myths.

Using the Crowd as an Innovation Partner

From Apple to Merck to Wikipedia, more and more organizations are turning to crowds for
help in solving their most vexing innovation and research questions, but managers remain
understandably cautious. It seems risky and even unnatural to push problems out to vast
groups of strangers distributed around the world, particularly for companies built on a history
of internal innovation.

The concerns of managers are reasonable, the authors write, but excluding crowdsourcing
from the corporate innovation tool kit means losing an opportunity. After a decade of study,
they have identified when crowds tend to outperform internal organizations (or not). They
outline four ways to tap into crowd-powered problem solvingcontests, collaborative
communities, complementors, and labor marketsand offer a system for picking the best one
in a given situation.

The Discipline of Business Experimentation

The data you already have can't tell you how customers will react to innovations. To discover
if a truly novel concept will succeed, you must subject it to a rigorous experiment. In most
companies, tests do not adhere to scientific and statistical principles. As a result, managers
often end up interpreting statistical noise as causationand making bad decisions. To
conduct experiments that are worth the expense and effort, companies need to ask
themselves these important questions.

How Companies Can Learn to Make Faster Decisions

SpaceX had a problem. Managers at the aerospace manufacturer wanted to make faster
decisions for one of their big clientsNASAby finding alternatives to the high volume of
meetings and cumbersome spreadsheets used for tracking projects. Initially, NASA sent a fax
(yes, a fax) whenever they had a query, which SpaceX added to a list of outstanding
questions. The company then assembled a weekly 50-person meeting to review product
status information contained in spreadsheets, addressing each question individually before
sending the responses back to NASA.

SpaceX's dilemma is not an uncommon one. In today's organizations, the speed of decision
making matters, but most are pretty bad at it. One-third of all products are delivered late or
incomplete due to an inability or delay in decision-making, according to research from
Forrester Consulting and Jama Software. Others at Gartner cite "speed of decision making" as
the primary obstacle impacting internal communication.