My top 10 lessons for successful new product development

This list is based on my personal experience developing new products. There are many more lessons to share but these are my top 10 most valuable. For successful new product development you need:

  1. Buy-in and ongoing support from an executive level stakeholder.
  2. A business case and/or market requirements document (MRD) and a clear scope of work.
  3. Adequate funding.
  4. Development gates or sign-off points.
  5. A prioritization list (or backlog). You need to be careful not to “overdevelop” as you can always add features later based on feedback from users.
  6. A stakeholder from all affected cross-functional areas of the organization (finance, marketing, client support, sales, etc.). They do not need to attend every meeting but they need to receive regular updates and have the ability to provide their feedback.
  7. Someone to own the Product launch plan.
  8. Compelling product positioning statements.
  9. Prototypes, demos, screenshots or samples along the way. Project stakeholders need to see, feel or touch your product to give you feedback to refine the development efforts.
  10. Executed contracts with third party vendors/suppliers. Depending on the relationship you are trying to establish and how critical it is, it may be better to delay development until the contract(s) is (are) executed.

And here is a bonus:

11. To keep things under wrap in large organizations until very close to the launch. Communication is a challenge in large organizations and you do not want the wrong message to go out internally or externally.

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