Product Portfolio Management Consulting

TCGen’s Product Portfolio Management Consulting helps executives deliver on product development investments.

TCGen is Trusted By

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What is Product Portfolio Management Consulting?

Product Portfolio Management Consulting services help organizations optimize their process for project and product management (PPM) to meet strategic objectives.

  • Investments and resource allocation in NPD
  • Scaling from a single product to families of products
  • Product Innovation and transformative products
  • Creating a clear business strategy that links with product roadmaps and budgets
  • Having the right mix of products with the right pricing
  • Superior product lifecycle management
Four Frameworks of Product Portfolio Management

We can help you to optimize Product Portfolio, while improving innovation and maximizing NPD investments.

TCGen’s Product Portfolio Management expertise addresses a range of problems…

  • Companies that are accelerating beyond the start-up phase are beginning to create many new products, including derivatives and spin-offs, as well as entirely new ideas that represent the future. They often struggle to scale and sometimes miss opportunities because they don’t actively manage their product portfolio and concepts are undeveloped. Typically, they don’t place a set of selective bets outside of the core products. 
  • Other companies are transitioning from a few products in the marketplace to a small handful of offerings. Any company faced with the challenge of managing these concepts over time, moving them into the pipeline and then into the marketplace, can benefit from our product portfolio management tools. They give an organization permission to take risks. 
  • Some companies find themselves caught between unmanageable growth and untenable stagnation. Striking the right balance between supporting core offerings and experimenting with bold, transformational ones is fraught with risk: technical risk and market risk. A Harvard Business Review piece found that “Companies that allocated about 70% of their innovation activity to core initiatives, 20% to adjacent ones, and 10% to transformational ones outperformed their peers, typically realizing a P/E premium of 10% to 20%.”  Growing tech companies tend to invest fewer resources than expected in the core, stimulating innovative solutions outside of it. 
  • Too many successful companies create a hostile environment for new product concepts, suffocating possible home runs with indecision. Having a superior Product Portfolio Management process allows larger companies to nurture the best ideas – the concepts that will allow your company to sustain its success.

Tie Strategy to Program Investments

Select the Best Ideas

Improve Your NPD Performance

Product Portfolio Management Consulting Approach

Why Work With A Product Portfolio Management Consultant?

You’re probably facing one of these common problems:

  • You are failing to effectively commercialize transformative products
  • Product lines don’t tie to corporate strategy
  • Unclear criteria for selecting projects — loudest voice wins & too many pet projects
  • Unclear decision-making around product development investments 
  • Poor product lifecycle management resulting in sales decline
  • Product portfolio has a poor balance between cash cows and offerings in new markets 

Product Portfolio Management Consulting is a solution for this set of problems that plague CEOs, Heads of Strategic Planning, Chief Marketing Officers, Product Managers, and other new product development stakeholders. 

These executives typically want assistance with Product Portfolio Management Strategy (PPM); Product Portfolio Analysis; resource allocation; NPD investment strategy; templates for product roadmaps; managing existing products vs. new products; lifecycle management; visualizing their project portfolio; and with project prioritization. Note, Product Management Consulting experts can do this work as well and also work at the discrete product level.

Whatever the desired outcomes, whether it’s increased market share for existing products, better synergy between individual products, or more effective practices for PPM, Product Portfolio Management Consulting can help you meet your business needs.

Benefits of Product Portfolio Management Consulting

Benefits of Product Portfolio Management Consulting with TCGen

Our clients have reported measurable improvements in performance following a Product Portfolio Management Consulting engagement. Typical results include:

  • Improving program profitability and predictability
  • Clarifying the tie between programs and business strategy
  • Ensuring that a steady stream of new ideas actually get made and sold
  • Improving the effectiveness of NPD investments
  • Maximizing the revenue from in-market products (lifecycle management)
  • Improving the effectiveness of product portfolio managers

TCGen – What We Do and How to Engage

Although each engagement is unique, most of them are variations of these types.

“We’re making better decisions, faster”

— Apple Executive
  1. Schedule a no obligation call. Book some time with us, and we can find out how we can help you.
  2. We will write it up. We will describe what we learned and suggest options for working together. These conversations may result in a proposal for your consideration.
  3. Kick off Project. We will work with you to formulate a tailored Kick Off to initiate the engagement.

TCGen’s Approach to Product Portfolio Management Consulting

We have developed methods for de-mystifying the front end of product development. And we have implemented them with blue chip companies such as Apple, BOSE, Cisco, Mozilla, and Roche. We have helped companies reduce the negative impact of out-of-date, declining products by coordinating lifecycle management with new product development. Our expertise in product portfolio management has helped these firms to converge quickly and reliably on the best opportunities for developing winning products.

TCGen’s approach includes:

  • A lightweight process that manages your day-to-day decisions that move and filter concepts as they make their way toward the pipeline
  • A yearly strategic planning process for product innovation.
  • A methodology that aligns the Board, the CEO, Business Development, and the rest of the C-Suite.  

Read more about our Product Development Consulting services here.

Regardless of the specific consulting area, TCGen’s approach typically begins with a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs and follows it with focused training for team members and their managers:

  1. We first highlight the pain points in your portfolio. 
  2. Then we agree on goals and KPIs to improve Product Portfolio Management, divided between new products and in-market products. 
  3. We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement. 
  4. We associate each of these Product Portfolio Management levers with a metric.

TCGen’s Product Portfolio Management Consulting Case History

TCGen’s approach to Product Portfolio Management helps teams optimize a critical resource: your company’s brightest ideas.


  • As chief engineer at BOSE, John Carter managed the development of products such as the BOSE® Wave® Music System and Noise-Cancelling Headphones, enjoyed by millions of customers worldwide. With over 25 years of consulting experience, John has developed expertise in product portfolio management, and picking winners.  


  • We helped the healthcare giant with PPM by clarifying roles in the fuzzy front end. We used an experience-based approach to tie a corporate vision to a product portfolio, that then translates into product roadmaps and budgets. 

The TCGen Difference

TCGen’s approach to Product Portfolio Management Consulting differs from the others because we listen. We drive deeply into the culture and the challenges of the organization including both the management and the development teams. Our Project History approach captures the voices within your organization and enables you to learn from the past, as you imagine your future.

In a dialog with senior leadership, we then define the key results you would like to achieve. We then craft a customized approach to your Product Portfolio Management Consulting engagement. 

We do not believe that “one size fits all.” Our Product Portfolio Management Consulting engagements enable you to select only the approaches that work for you. Too many consultants complicate processes to no end. We’ll help you implement only the approaches that make a difference.

TCGen is also different in that you will work directly with someone with deep, hands-on knowledge of Product Portfolio Management. We won’t hand you off to a recent MBA recipient. You will get the benefit of working with someone who has developed products enjoyed by millions of people and managed large, global product portfolios. John is also an expert on program management, project management, and processes for new product development.

About John Carter

John Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. He is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world:

 • Abbott, Amazon, Apple

 • BOSE, Cisco, Fitbit

 • HP, IBM, Roche

“John has that rare combination of brilliance and pragmatism that truly sets him apart. John is world class.”

— Dan Keller, HP Executive

John has years of experience in the value-creating aspects of product development – from the strategy and innovation processes, through product definition, execution, and launch. He has helped companies cut time to market, rapidly scale their product programs, and improve innovation with customer-led insights, leading to greater profitability, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.  

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cirrus Logic (CRUS) a leading supplier of mixed-signal semiconductors where he is involved with company strategy and sits on the Compensation and Audit Committees.  

John was the founder of Cambridge-based Product Development Consulting, Inc. (PDC), a consultancy advising Fortune 500 companies in the areas of research, development, and marketing. During his time there, he worked with Apple to create the Apple New Product Process (ANPP) which is used in all product divisions. He has been an invited speaker at MIT and Stanford University and a member of the faculty at Case Western’s Executive program.

Before starting PDC, John was Chief Engineer of BOSE Corporation. John is the inventor of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones and shares the original patent with Dr. Amar Bose. He was one of the initial contributors in BOSE’s entry into the automobile OEM business and led the product and business development of BOSE’s patented noise reduction technology for the military market. From software development to healthcare, John has consulted to a range of industries.

He earned his MS in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in engineering from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.

John Carter, TCGen Principal & Founder

John Carter

Principal, TCGen Inc.

John Carter is a widely respected expert on product development and product management.  He is the co-inventor of Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones and designer of Apple’s New Product Process (ANPP).

As Founder of TCGen Inc., he has consulted for Abbott, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Mozilla, Roche, 3M and many other organizations.

He is the author of “Innovate Products Faster,” a handbook for accelerating product development.  He currently serves on the Cirrus Logic board of directors. John has a MS in electrical engineering from MIT.