The New New Product Development Game article in our set of principles – part 3/5 – Our people

In today’s blog post we will continue our elaboration on the companies in the article The New New Product Development Game [1] and their fulfilment of our set of principles, and today it is turn for the people part of the principles.

Principle: We need to have the right competence to be able to make our system product and its deliverables.

Many of the companies in the article took their best people and put in the core team of the projects, and probably also in its sub-teams, even if the latter is not clearly stated. Both the competence and the diversity of the people were important factors and thoroughly taken into account when management were choosing people.

The authors conclude that “multilevel learning”, I-shaping within the own silo, was an important aspect for the companies. Some of the companies wanted their people to elaborate on this as much as 10-15% per week.

All together this is a perfect match again.

Principle: We need full-time people and to nourish short chains of interactions within the silos, between the nearby silos and cross-functional over all silos (end to end), as well as at all different levels of the organisation (so the activities with interdependencies easily can be solved).

All companies tried to have as small core teams as possible, and many times put the total project in the same room, with very short chains of interactions as followed. Participants gave the rationale for that the information spreading more or less was instant, you did not even need to try to get it. This is another perfect match.

And if this core team is successful and have learnt many things about the way of working, the best way to spread the team members’ knowledge throughout the company, is to spread the team members among new core teams, which the authors refer to as “organizational transfer of learning”. By doing so, our principles to nourish short chains of interactions and T-shaping, are fulfilled also in future projects.

It is important to understand that our principles are prerequisites for a flourishing company. This means that, if we nourish interactions and T-shaping within our cross-functional core team that is working in parallel, magic will happen, because they sit in the same boat all through the end to end product development. And these two principles are strongly connected to “subtle control”, that the authors mention as one of the companies’ success factors in the article. Because, if the control is not subtle, constraints are put on the teams, and the two principles will not be fulfilled.

In the next blog post we will continue with the rest of the principles regarding our people. C u then.


[1] Takeuchi, Hirotaka and Nonaka, Ikujiro, ”The New New Product Development Game”. Harvard Business Review, Jan 1986 issue.
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