Senior leaders often do not recognize the connection of product development to the success of their businesses.

In our consulting practice, we regularly meet with senior leaders. When we speak to them from an operations perspective, every one of them knows their manufacturing capacity or their service rate capability. They are quick to tell us the numbers. We have been surprised to learn, however, that senior leaders rarely know the product / service development throughput rate necessary to deliver their long-term objectives.

Senior leaders might know the important new development projects their organizations are working to deliver — often due, unfortunately, to the issues those projects are encountering — but they can rarely tell us the on-going delivery rate in terms of number and type of projects needed to deliver the business objectives, or even if that data is available. In other words, they cannot measure the performance of their development system.

They do not know the development system throughput capacity required nor their organization’s capacity for development work. We almost always see a mismatch between what sales and marketing want and what the development system can deliver. If organizations cannot measure innovation, they will likely have trouble improving it.

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