Product and technology roadmapping is increasingly identified as a critical tool to a company’s innovation efforts, but at most companies the quality of these roadmaps varies across the board. As innovation executives try to remove as much guesswork as possible from their crystal balls and chart their next several paths to new markets and growth, many resort to blindly throwing darts at their targets. The critical piece they are missing to help illuminate the correct course of action and investment for their business is metrics.
We talked to Wayne Mackey, a principal at Product Development Consulting and co-author of Value Innovation Portfolio Management, about what can be a critical ‘blindspot’ for many. Specifically, how do good metrics give you the confidence in your planning process and investment decisions?
According to Wayne:
“If we‘re not measuring our roadmaps, then they’re just wishful thinking.” That was the short, but to-the-point company president’s kickoff for his R&D investment planning session. Are you measuring the “critical few” predictive metrics that drive your technology, project and portfolio performance? Getting them right is a fundamental business need of every R&D organization. If we don’t consistently fund the right portfolio of projects, executing them well won’t make us successful. If we don’t consistently execute our high value R&D projects well, our portfolio of investments will be squandered.
At some point we have to pause to sharpen our ax if we have a mighty forest to cut down. As an R&D leader, the wrong metrics are your dull ax, causing critical decisions to be based on missing or conflicting data while the marketplace has become unforgiving of even the smallest miscalculations. Too many companies have too many metrics that are too disconnected from the “real” work of the enterprise. Available “early warning” information is either not captured or not acted upon.
- R&D Metrics: Quantifying Portfolio Decisions, Projects and Profits – 2-Day Workshop
- Infographic: Anatomy of a Bad R&D Metric