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PDI - New Product Development Glossary

Actions that have been identified through Dr. Cooper and Dr. Edgett’s research as being highly correlated with product innovation success, when these actions are performed with a high level of quality. Activities are recommended to be undertaken for every product innovation project and omitting them increases the likelihood of market failure for the new product.

Benchmarking is a process in which a company compares its performance and practices against one or more organizations. The objective is to identify best practices that will help improve business performance results.

Business Case
A business case results from the upfront work and business analysis that occurs in Stages 1 and 2. It is updated at each subsequent stage to reflect the most current information. The Business Case defines:

  1. The new product opportunity from many perspectives (customer needs, market opportunities, technical feasibility and risks/rewards);
  2. The project (the scope of activities necessary to move from idea to launch); and
  3. The justification for pursuing the project opportunity (includes considerations such as strategic fit and risk versus reward).

Critical Success Factors
Fact-based success derived from the many research studies that have probed new product performance, both successes and failures. The Stage-Gate process is based on Dr. Cooper’s 15 critical success factors that are based on over 30+ years of research.

Key information requirements that are necessary to enable the Gatekeepers (or decision-makers) to make good decisions. The team leader and team members are responsible for bringing the required deliverables to the gate. The type, quantity, and level of detail of the information will vary from gate to gate. Deliverables are created from the results of the activities performed during the stage.

The decision point that precedes each stage. Gates serve as quality control checkpoints, where go/kill and prioritization decisions are made and the path forward is decided. The decision:

  • go – the project is approved and resources committed
  • kill – the project is stopped; no further work is conducted; no additional resources are spent
  • hold – the project passes, but other projects are more attractive and there may be a shortage of resources
  • recycle – the project is missing deliverables, so the Project Team is sent back to obtain the requested deliverables

The Gatekeepers are the cross-functional team of executives who make go/kill decisions at gates. The Gatekeepers are also responsible for ensuring that requested resources are approved and allocated to projects.

Ideation/Idea Generation
A systematic process which guides the ongoing generation of new product ideas. New opportunities are routinely identified or discovered in the form of new markets, new products and new businesses.

Innovation Diamond™
Best practice research has uncovered a common theme in organizations that excel at product innovation. Four key areas of best practice stand out as common denominators and comprise the Innovation Diamond: product innovation and technology strategy; portfolio management – both strategic and tactical; idea-to-launch new product development process, and the right climate and culture for innovation.

Integrated Activities
Activities or actions that require the input of project team members representing all functional areas. These activities are facilitated by the Project Leader and are iterative in nature. All members of the Project Team are expected to provide input based upon their functional expertise and to participate in the discussion that will result in the development of the deliverables.

Killer Variables
Conditions that warrant an immediate kill decision at a gate meeting. Such conditions could be any of the following:

  • Legal, ethical, regulatory, technological roadblocks or moral objections to marketing the product.
  • Other issues as deemed important and/or critical to the company.

A prescribed set of measurements used to track performance. Metrics can be used to measure project, business, and process performance.

New Product Process
See Stage-Gate Process

Parallel Activities
Activities that are completed concurrently by different project team members in order to accelerate speed to market. For example, in Stage 1 some project team members are in the process of completing the Preliminary Market Assessment while other project team members are completing the Preliminary Technical Assessment.

Portfolio Management
A decision-based process where a set (or portfolio) of projects is analyzed in its entirety and from many perspectives such as: risk/reward, strategic fit, and time to profit. The objective is to periodically review the portfolio and make critical go/kill decisions to maximize its value, achieve balance and ensure strategic alignment.

Post Launch Review (PLR)
The post launch review provides the details for a retrospective analysis on the project – an opportunity to evaluate the success of the new product and/or service, and the effectiveness of the Stage-Gate process. Each team member completes specific surveys and information about monitoring and improving chances of success.

Readiness Check
The readiness check is completed by the Project Leader and reviewed by the Process Manager prior to the gate meeting. It ensures that key activities have been completed in accordance to the quality required. These activities must be reviewed for quality prior to the scorecard evaluation.

A set of measures upon which the project is judged. Projects are rated consistently using a number of key criteria based on rating scales. The ratings are then added together to yield an overall project score so that projects can be ranked-ordered against each other or compared against a minimum acceptable score. Scorecards facilitate consistent and fact-based evaluation across a cross-functional team of gatekeepers.

A prescribed set of activities which are carried out in parallel (opposed to sequentially) by different functional areas. Each stage is designed to gather information needed to progress the project to the decision point and reduce uncertainties. Each stage costs more than the preceding one – it is an incremental commitment process.

Stage-Gate® Process
A value based roadmap for driving product innovation projects from idea concept to launch and beyond. The Stage-Gate methodology was developed by Dr. Robert G. Cooper, the world-expert in product innovation and is widely implemented.

Technology Development Process
The Technology Development (TD) process guides the development of higher risk projects that are focused on new capability development – new platforms or new technology. TD projects do not yield commercial services and/or products as a direct output, but rather are potential inputs into the Five Stage Innovation Process.

Worksheets are the key forms and checklists that guides teams to complete various activities and submit high quality deliverables. The team leader and team members are responsible for reviewing the various worksheets and determining which ones are the most applicable to the project’s needs.

5 Stage Process
The 5 Stage Process is appropriate for developing new products and services where the technology, production, operations, service delivery and/or marketing is unfamiliar to the organization and thus requires greater risk management. It should contain working documents, deliverables, and details for each stage and gate of the process.

3 Stage Process
The 3 Stage Process is a fast-track process to facilitate innovation for low risk projects, without compromising quality. This process is appropriate when information, experience and expertise are readily available.

Stage-Gate® is a registered trademark of Stage Gate, Inc.
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