Project Post-Mortems Don’t Have To Be Food Fights

food-fight-blogAre your company’s project post-mortem meetings an exercise in lessons learned or a blame game where everyone plays CYA (cover your a**)?  Most likely they start out as the former and devolve to the latter.   With the potential for emotionally charged debate, hopefully this is not a lunch meeting.

The true intent of such meetings is to make sure important learnings are captured, best practices are recorded and costly errors remembered for posterity.  In some instances, not repeating something like a six-figure material selection error could be highly significant to the bottom-line.  Unfortunately, human behavior and psychology can prevent the flow of honest and candid feedback that is required.  Often the problem is not having reliable data to back up the lessons learned which can result in territorial fear and positioning.

To help you learn how to keep egos and personalities in check and ensure that Post-Morten sessions live up to their intended purpose of exposing and sharing valuable project experiences, Management Roundtable is presenting a new webinar with Jeanne Bradford, principal at TCGen, Inc. on “Conducting Fast and Effective Project Post Mortems to Improve Product Development,” on Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 1-2pm ET.

Registration for this webinar is complimentary and we encourage you to share this with colleagues you think may be interested. To register online today, click here.



Is roadmapping poised to take off with economic recovery?

PLR_IreneWebinar_ScreenshotI’ve often heard that when college students “put a mortgage on their futures” with high tuition loans, all they’ve done is set themselves up to be short term financial thinkers for the rest of their lives.  One could argue that companies notoriously do the exact same thing with planning their own futures and product portfolios.

During a recent webinar, respected Technology Strategist, Dr. Irene Petrick of Penn State University, talked about seeing this first hand working with companies who are trying to chart their future directions and make sure they invest in the proper technologies and accurately follow market trends.  Companies seem so focused on making their short term revenue goals for shareholders, they are distracted from and procrastinating on critical strategic decisions regarding technology investment and game changing innovation.

Not only is she seeing strategic horizons shrink from 7-year planning down to 5-years, 3-years or less, she increasingly sees more and more management attention and resources being siphoned off to leverage short-term gains, often at the expense of securing future revenue.  The “make the month” mentality that shuttered numerous factories in the 1990s is cycling back again and moving up the ladder into R&D.  Once the economy is in a more comfortable position, it’s thought that planners would be relaxed enough to look further ahead, and hope that no real monsters have appeared meanwhile in these blind spots.

While it seems that only improving jobs reports and consumer spending can turn around the economy, Dr. Petrick does believe the macroeconomic trend of increasingly integrated product ecosystems as a major factor in turning this issue around.   Fueled by mobile devices and social media culture, more and more products are being composed of complicated partnerships between manufacturers, supply chains, retailers and more, often known as the “iTunes type ecosystem.”  This type of complicated coordination, says Petrick, inevitably leads companies down the path of strategic roadmapping.

To hear more from Dr. Petrick, her webinar, “Why is it so hard to get traction with product line roadmapping?” is available on-demand from Management Roundtable.  To have a link to the webinar sent to you via email, click here.

Product Line Roadmapping – What’s Your Take?

PLR_Logo_500COur research shows that interest in roadmapping as a visual and strategic tool for product development is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, but that one of the biggest issues is a lack of common understanding and definition of just what it’s composed of and encompasses.

Management Roundtable and the Adept Group are currently working on creating a definitive model around the term “Product Line Roadmapping” as a way to reflect the cross-functional coordination that is required for aligning the necessary resources, departments and leadership to create profitable, platform-based product lines.

You’re invited to help shape this discussion and the direction of the research, networking and educational material that will be produced starting this year.  Here are 3 very simple ways for you to get involved and be a part of the growing community:

  • 5-Minute Survey – Please consider taking 5 short minutes out of your day to answer a few questions that will help us understand your perspective on Product Line Roadmapping and how we should focus an upcoming conference.
  • Linked-In Group – Join our community of PLR professionals on Linked In where resources are shared and common questions answered by peers and experts.
  • On-Demand Webinars with Thought Leaders – Our monthly webinar series features recognized experts and practitioners talking about their experiences implementing roadmapping at companies across many industries.


R&D and Open Innovation Analytics

This recent webinar with product development metrics expert, Wayne Mackey from Product Development Consulting, Inc., outlines a sensible approach towards managing the inherent risks of open innovation and collaborative partnerships. In this 1-hour session, Mr. Mackey walks us through a model for analyzing the goals of your project and matching them to performance measurements that help monitor risk factors and focus your resources on their mitigation.

This webinar was produced by Management Roundtable in association with a new public workshop: “R&D and Open Innovation Analytics” being held March 4-5, 2014 in San Francisco.