Help! The innovation is almost finished!
‘If there is a new product after an innovation project, the whole project team is happy. But as a project manager, you’re not there yet. Especially if it’s a breakthrough innovation, this is a complex phase. The people who will receive the product come from all kinds of parts of the organization: production, supply chain, marketing, communications, sales, service. From a compact project team that is in sync with each other, now as a project manager you are going to engage all those parts of the company to streamline the transition. Another team will have to deal with a new product it knows very little about. At BEACON, we’ve helped many clients go through this phase successfully. You can think of it as a relay in which the first runner is the project and the second is the standing organization. The second runner already has to run along for a bit to keep up momentum while handing over the stick, or product’.
Transferring knowledge and experience
‘Conversely, it is also important for the project team to stay involved a little longer during the start-up and the introduction of the product to the market. Because when a product has just been developed, it is usually 90, 95, or maybe 98 percent good, but there are always a few things that could be just a little bit better. In the start-up phase of production, points for improvement and perhaps even teething problems are guaranteed to come to light as production numbers increase. To avoid problems, it is therefore important to involve the standing organization early on and let the project team, especially engineering and project management, run a little longer. So in effect it means getting a good deal of overlap between the two teams early on, so that the knowledge and experience can be transferred properly.
‘A very natural way to get those two teams working together is to organize a market test. The important thing is to make sure that the standing organization is responsible for execution, while the development team supports. Although it is a controlled test, everything should go as much as possible “as in real life. This allows the business team to get acquainted with the new product in a very natural and concrete way and already warm up to the new setting. Moreover, you get the most important points for improvement, not only in the product but also, for example, in the service organization, before you actually introduce it.