Why Work With A Product Development Consultant?
You’re probably facing one of these common problems:
“We’re making better decisions, faster”— Apple Executive
- Products are late to market and unpredictable
- Products don’t meet financial objectives
- Products don’t delight customers
- Lack of clarity in product development roles
- Product developers are burned out
Product Development Consulting is a solution for this typical set of problems that plague product owners and product teams.
Note, if you are an inventor or have a small business – what should you do? Start by seeing if you can do it yourself – by reading “5 Steps for Turning Your Invention Idea Into a Product” on Entrepreneur.com or try out firms like SparkInnovations.com.
Benefits of Product Development Process Improvements
Our clients have reported measurable improvements in business performance following an engagement, including:
- Cutting Time to Market
- Exceeding sales forecasts
- Improving product profitability
- Improving product development predictability
- Creating more innovative products
- Fostering an agile environment
Clients across industries including IT, healthcare/medical devices, aerospace, automotive, consumer products, and industrial products hire consulting firms to improve the performance of their development projects. Note that if your issues are more typically in the “what’s and why’s”, you may be better off with product management consulting.
Domain Experience Requirements
Helping companies with product development requires experience in similar industries but an exact match is not required. For example, consulting experience in explosive growth areas such as SaaS, IOT can be very helpful but also more general experience in the broader categories of software, technology, consumer products, industrial products, consumer electronics may be more foundational.
In reality, there are very few domains such as pharmaceuticals, health care, financial services, and insurance where a consultant will need specialized domain knowledge. Even so, our 20+ years of experience in improving the product development process and the product development strategy process has allowed us unrivaled specialization but we rest on an enormous database of best practices that can help you jump start your efforts immediately.
New products require market insights that consultants can provide because they have an outside perspective. Clients often employ our services for new product development for this very reason and because we can see across industries for market trends.
Innovative products, which which we all aspire to create, takes a special effort to ensure they thrive, as corporate antibodies will do what they can to avoid risk, which is inherently part of innovative “Blue Ocean” product development. Not only do you want to have great performance advances, but you also need an exciting industrial design.
Because you are taking risks, it is best to use some form of rapid prototyping – useful to illustrate the product concepts to enroll the executives. A good consulting service will facilitate your introduction of innovative products, and get a great return on your ideas.
How to Engage with TCGen
- Schedule a no obligation call. Book some time with us. Find out more about how we can help you.
- We will write it up. We will send you what we learned from the call and suggest options for working together. If it meets your needs, we can send you a proposal.
- Kick off Project. We will work with you to design a tailored Kick Off to initiate the engagement.
Whatever you want to improve…
- Innovative Products
- Rapid Prototyping
- Supply chains
- Product management
- Program management
- Project management
- Product innovation
- Product design
- Product launch
- Process optimization
…a new product development consultant can help.
What TCGen Does for Clients
Our services help your company improve its performance in a variety of initiatives:
- Implement a more reliable process
- Make product development programs more predictable
- Improve Product Strategy and Product Portfolios
- Accelerate innovation
- Increase throughput (product velocity)
- Increase Organizational Effectiveness
TCGen’s three stage product development process
Improve Product Strategy, Product Portfolio Management, and Innovation
Typically, our services will help a company ensure that its strategy leverages its brand position and that is reflected all the way to margins and pricing. It will help you tune up your strategy so that it is clearly stated, and ties to the vision, the product roadmaps and the budget. A clear tie between each of these facets of product development ensures that the resulting product portfolio mirrors corporate strategy.
Implement Product Development Processes
Product development consultants also help your company have a product development process that is aligned with strategy. For example, if your strategy calls for an intense concentration on technical innovation, then your product development process must include a crucible for innovation, and at the same time, not punish teams for taking risks.
Your process must include a mechanism for capturing the best ideas, for vetting and prioritizing them, and for nurturing them on the long journey from raw technology to marketable products. We have also helped sales and marketing teams leverage Design Thinking to improve innovation; and we’ve helped a technology firm to implement a Discovery process.
Helping with hearing the voice of the customer is another service that product development consultants provide. Nothing is more essential to ideation as is effective inbound marketing as the voice of the customer. Superior consulting firms may help your company establish innovation programs such as Design Thinking or Market-Driven Product Definition, methodologies for capturing and leveraging the customer’s voice. Additionally, product development consultants can assist in technical supplier management when applicable.
Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness
Clarifying roles and responsibilities is another area where product development consulting can help. In too many companies, product development and product marketing are not distinct functions. At the same time, product development is not always differentiated from user experience design. Partnerships between consultants and the company can help define these roles more carefully, smoothing out misunderstandings, accelerating decision making, while helping to power products to market, resulting in a management roundtable that is well-oiled and smooth.
Exceed Business Plan Goals.
Improve Your Time To Market.
Ramp your revenue.
TCGen’s Approach to Product Development Consulting
Although each engagement is unique, most of them are variations of these types:
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:
- We first highlight the pain points.
- Then we agree on goals and KPIs to improve new product development.
- We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement.
- We associate each of these product development levers with a metric.
TCGen’s Consulting Case History (Including Healthcare)
As chief engineer at BOSE, TCGen founder John Carter managed the development of products such as the BOSE® Wave® Music System and Noise-Cancelling Headphones, enjoyed by millions of customers worldwide. He brings hands-on experience to his consulting engagements.
He has led Product Development engagements across industries:
- Apple – John designed and implemented the Apple New Product Process (ANPP), used throughout Apple’s product divisions.
- Bio-Rad – TCGen worked with a team to design the next generation platform of diagnostic testing systems. We implemented a unique customer visitation plan. The results: a platform launch that was the most successful ever for Bio-Rad and has been an enduring winner for them over many years.
- HP – We worked with general management marketing and engineering to understand gaps in product development and how to fill them. We helped management to better fund the product marketing team and increase the number of dedicated resources to each of these teams. This led to positive results in customer satisfaction and increased predictability.
Product Management to Consulting
If you are interested in helping a company get into new products and services and you have a background in product management, you might consider undergoing a transition from product management to consulting – either with an established firm or doing it on your own. This is especially true if you have experience taking a team through the product lifecycle, from the start: discovering customer needs, directing industrial design (or user experience) all the way to product launch. Take a look at our background to get an idea of the experience you will need. Send us a note if you are interested.
The TCGen Difference
TCGen’s approach to product development consulting differs from the others because we listen. We drive deeply into the culture and challenges of the organization in both management and the new product 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 development consulting engagement.
We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach. Our new product development 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 what makes a difference.
“John has that rare combination of brilliance and pragmatism that truly sets him apart. John is world class.”— Dan Keller, HP Executive
TCGen is also different in that you will work directly with someone with deep, hands-on knowledge of product development. 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.
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 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 program, 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 given webinars for Management Roundtable.
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.
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. You can see more of John’s background on Linkedin.