Visualize your choices in product development

Attribute mapping is a qualitative tool that is used to visualize product development options. It’s useful for looking at everything from product concepts to user types. In attribute mapping, a continuum is a line that runs between two equally beneficial opposing characteristics. It might run from heavy to light, from luxury to economy. Different choices […]

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Are you asking the right questions?

When it comes to doing product development work, the questions you ask, and the way you ask them, are critical to getting the information that you need. I encourage my clients to learn about Appreciative Inquiry. It’s powerful technique for engaging whole companies in identifying innovative solutions that are both welcomed and readily implemented. While […]

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Real-time dynamic data display

Displaying data from observations of dynamic phenomena isn’t easy. Normally, we select sequences in discrete time slices and look for trends implied in the static data. A lot is lost in the paired translations of dynamic-to-static and static-to-trends. This was made clear to me recently while working with the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Puget […]

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Common Cause Analysis vs. Appreciative Inquiry

It’s no secret I’ve favored Common Cause Analysis as a quick and easy tool for identifying key, recurring problems in a project management system. The methodology is simple: List a number of recent problematic projects (typically 10–15) For each project, list the causes that contributed to the projects’ problems Prioritize the contributory causes, in terms […]

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The Morph Corp—the trend to 2040

Wednesday I spent the day at Vistage International’s annual All-City meeting in Seattle. The keynote speaker was noted futurist David Houle, author of The Shift Age (2006) and ShiftEd: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 (2011). Houle’s presentation explored existing trends and extrapolated them into the near future. From these, projections of interest to […]

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Getting outside funding

A common question I hear among early stage entrepreneurs is “I need an infusion of money to get my project going. What are they (banks, private and angel investors, and venture capital funds) looking for?” At the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market tradeshow, the Outdoor Industry Association hosted a panel discussion of boutique investment bankers who answered […]

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Make Phase-Gate work for you

Phase-Gate processes are in widespread use for the management of new product development efforts. I often hear questions about how to better and more effectively implement them. A recent inter-company survey sheds some interesting and objective light on the subject. I think you’ll find the results compelling—I certainly did. Here are the findings in a […]

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Building brands with emotional connection

Graeme Newell’s keynote presentation at the Outdoor Industry Rendezvous in Portland last month was, hands down, the best presentation of the event. Every product and brand manager should know, understand and live his points about brand building and messaging—it isn’t about the product, it is about the customer, how the customer feels, and how the […]

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Crowdsourced conference content

At the end of October I attended Product Management Consortium’s the 3rd ProductCamp Seattle. The event was developed by, and for, product managers, to increase skills and knowledge, build professional relationships, and provide greater recognition for the discipline. The most interesting part for me was how the content was developed and delivered: sourced from, and selected […]

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Tracking milestones and burn rate

I am a big fan of simple and elegant dashboard tools. Jim Fowler, Interim VP of Business Development at Carbon Design Group, one of Seattle’s premier full-service product development consultancies, shared the method that they use for reporting actual-to-budget resource burn rates and mapping them to milestone delivery. With this tool, hours and expenses are […]

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