Project delays result in lost revenues and higher costs. Managed proactively potentially big disasters can be avoided. As projects reach final stages of completion, it’s important to understand that an error or lack of necessary product modifications in the early phases of development can become detrimental to a company’s bottom line.
Here are the Top Four oversights that lead to delays in project launches.
1. Not Understanding Customer Requirements
The importance of understanding the customer’s goals cannot be overstated. Too often companies’ clear and well-defined objectives or critical milestones and timelines are left undocumented. Without understanding a customer’s goals or what they value the most in regards to timing and quality gets lost in translation. Defining these factors on the front end provides a mutually agreed upon roadmap for building and executing a workable gameplan. Collaborating on all details, with particular focus on product design, fit and function and timing builds customer confidence and loyalty.
2. Lack of Strong Project Management
Product development ideas are not valuable unless properly implemented. Successful product launches require a strong project management focus on the disciplines of managing time and costs, benefits and risks, team members, contractors and vendors, issues and requirements, tasks and milestones. Product development requires heavy involvement across departments and stakeholders.
3. Product Changes
Identifying and addressing potential gaps early in the design phase exponentially improves product launch timelines. Initial designs are influenced by optimal performance and not usually for manufacturing efficiency and cost. As design requirements evolve throughout the product development process this can throw a wrench to the project timeline. It is therefore important to work with a manufacturer who has experience with similar products and has been exposed to what works and what doesn’t. Another crucial consideration is working with a factory that has existing equipment and know-how with a specific category of products.
As you meet with potential manufacturing partners you may learn the cost involved in producing the product is actually less than expected. Conversely, a feature initially assumed to be low-cost and important to the consumer may turn out to be more expensive and less important to the ultimate product performance.
Engineering, in particular, requires technical proficiency and precise communication. Product development teams should consist of experts with training and certification in their respective fields. It’s common for jargon in one language to get lost in translation. What is common vernacular of technical professionals in the U.S. may not necessarily jive with engineers in China. Only with hands-on, “feet on the street” management can you mitigate these risks.
Michelle Scheblein is China Business Analyst at BaySource Global. She has a B.A. in international business from the University of South Florida and has studied abroad, worked, and traveled throughout China between 2011-2014. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org