When top executives of the product companies were asked about what makes most products unsuccessful following four major factors emerged as per recent research
1. Failing to Incorporate Voice of the Customer into the Process
The “Voice of the Customer” is the term to describe the stated and unstated customer needs or requirements. There is no one monolithic voice of the customer. Customer voices are diverse- internal and external. In addition to the external customer, there are multiple customer voices within a single organization: the voice of the sales organization, the voice of the development teams, and the voice of the supporting or maintenance organization. These diverse voices must be considered, reconciled and balanced to develop a truly successful product.
2. Failing to Align Product Execution with Company Strategy
The survey indicated that often companies are developing the wrong products with the wrong features because of a substantial disconnect between C-level strategy setters and those managing product execution.
Priorities trickle down from c-suite management; but product developers often do not have the right plan allocation, or resources to execute on delivery. Hence, there is a significant disconnect between what the development teams are working on versus what was handed down based on corporate objectives.
3. Failing to Automate Innovation Processes
The need for speed in the product development cycle is a major priority yet complex products, complex requirements, complex development lifecycle slow things down. Paper based and other manual processes add fuel to the fire slowing things down even further or worse, completely missing key customer requirements or market opportunities.
Almost half (48%) of respondents report their business pace will be faster and another 38% expect more uncertainty and volatility. Better and faster is seen as the way to survive and thrive. Yet, survey results show that nearly 70% of companies are still on a manual process (using spreadsheets and word documents) when it comes to managing their innovation processes across the enterprise.
4. Failing to Mitigate Planning and Execution Risk
With less than 50% of product launches successful, the risk of product failure is high. Mitigating planning and execution risk cited as the # 1 challenge in most companies. Specific risk areas mentioned include the inability to plan resources to match timing and constraints leading to missed market opportunities due to missing launch deadlines and the inability to manage product and execution dependencies across multiple teams and regions.
And when asked which initiatives these companies have planned or starting or accelerating in the coming year the results were as shown in the picture below. As you can see the most popular answer was ‘Product Portfolio Management’ as the key innovation management initiative that most companies plan to start accelerating in the coming year: 70% of executives plan to make an investment in a portfolio solution to maximize profitability or value of the portfolio, provide balance and support the strategy of the enterprise in 2011.
Of course, this is what the research has to say, what is your reality?
 Aberdeen Research Study June 2010