Bulletins

The Power of Purpose: Why Purpose Statements Bring KDs and KGs Into Focus

posted Jul 21, 11:33 am (510 days ago), permalink

The Power of Purpose

Every Knowledge Gap and Key Decision Report contains a section to describe the purpose of the Key Decision or Knowledge Gap. What is this section and how do we use it effectively?

The purpose statement is the reason why we consider the Key Decision to be so key to the program, and why we need to close the Knowledge Gap to make the Key Decision. The process of writing these statements brings the questions into clearer focus and sometimes exposes the fact that we've been asked to work on the wrong questions.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes the purpose statement and the role it plays in bringing Key Decisions and Knowledge Gaps into focus.

 

 

Key Takeaways

  • The purpose is the reason why something needs to be done: why a Key Decision is high impact / high unknown and why a Knowledge Gap needs to be closed.
  • Purpose statements tie these reasons back to the overall program’s Core Hypothesis.
  • Write the purpose statement early to sharpen the Key Decisions and Knowledge Gaps, and sometimes expose the fact that you’ve been asked to work on the wrong question.

 

The Power of Purpose: Why Purpose Statements Bring Key Decisions and Knowledge Gaps Into Focus

Power-of-Purpose-Letter.pdf

Power-of-Purpose-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

Our Permanent Resource Collection

posted Jul 5, 2:01 am (526 days ago), 0 comments, permalink

We call the posts below this one the "Starter Kit" for Rapid Learning Cycles.

The best way to begin learning about Rapid Learning Cycles is to purchase my book, The Shortest Distance Between You and Your Product: How Innovators Use Rapid Learning Cycles to Get Their Best Ideas to Market Faster.  While you wait for your copy to arrive, these Knowledge Briefs will give you a basic introduction.

The posts below will be permanently available to the public, or at least as permanently as this site exists. The  Knowledge Briefs above this line will become private approximately 90 days after posting.  We migrate them under the Knowledge Brief Library that is a benefit of registering your copy of the book.

If you already have a book, please register it by signing up for an account. You'll need your copy of the book handy.

 

All Knowledge Briefs may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information.

Other uses require our explicit permission. Examples of uses requiring our consent include use as a student resource in an academic setting, republishing to a magazine, blog or other offline or online publication, translating or reformatting the article.

 

Simple, Flexible and Forgiving: Why the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework Has Staying Power

posted Jul 5, 1:52 am (526 days ago), permalink

Simple, Flexible, Forgiving

I've been working to improve product development for a long time.  Trends in product development and innovation have come and go - but three things have proven to stick: Agile Software Development, Phase Gate PDPs - and now Rapid Learning Cycles.

What these three have in common are that they are simple, flexible and forgiving.  A Phase Gate PDP is just a set of phases with management reviews in between.  Agile is easy to launch, and easy to re-launch if a team gets off track.  All of these methods may be heavily adapted to meet the needs of a specific organization without a lot of extra time and work.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes why Rapid Learning Cycles are simple, flexible and forgiving, and how that leads to changes in product development that stick. 

Key Takeaways

  • It's easier to stick with a new idea that is simple, flexible and forgiving, because teams have a lot of room for error and the ability to adapt the idea to their specific challenges.
  • Rapid Learning Cycles are simple and flexible: the number of elements that must be done exactly right are few, and there is a lot of room for adaptation.
  • Rapid Learning Cycles are forgiving: it just takes a replanning session with the team to get them back on track if they’ve made a mistake or encountered a surprise.

 

Simple, Flexible and Forgiving: Why the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework Has Staying Power

RLC-Why-Sticky-Letter.pdf

RLC-Why-Sticky-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

The Structure to Grow Ideas into Solutions: The RLC Framework as the Engine of Innovation

posted Jul 5, 1:49 am (526 days ago), permalink

RLCs as the Engine of Innovation

Eric Ries' book, The Lean Startup describes how start-ups grow faster when they release a "minimum viable product" as quickly as possible - and then rapidly iterate it to improve it. This approach helps them attract both early customers and investors, maximizing their chances at success.

My own clients tend to be large, established companies with internal systems that throw up a lot of barriers to innovation. "Minimum viable products" come with the potential to hurt the brand and disruptive innovations threaten existing business models. It's no wonder that these companies struggle with the Innovation process - the status quo is powerful.

The Rapid Learning Cycles framework provides a way to counteract the forces that drive out innovation, while generating pull to help the Innovation team make progress in the face of the needs of the current business. It provides structure and support for maturing your best ideas into tomorrow's innovative products.

This week's Knowledge Brief explains why the Rapid Learning Cycles framework is the engine of Innovation.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • The need to protect the status quo is a powerful barrier to Innovation.
  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework provides a structured process to help companies override their tendency to kill off new ideas and protect the status quo.
  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework help teams fail fast to learn fast and build the knowledge to overcome objections while giving leaders visibility to progress and frequent check-ins.

 

The Structure to Grow Ideas into Solutions: The Rapid Learning Cycles Framework as the Engine of Innovation

RLC-Engines-Innovation-Letter.pdf

RLC-Engines-Innovation-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

The Idea Is the Unit of Knowledge: Why Sharply Focused KDs and KGs Build Knowledge

posted Jul 5, 1:45 am (526 days ago), permalink

Single Focused Idea

How big should a Knowledge Gap or Key Decision be?

In the early stages of product development, Knowledge Gaps are big and fuzzy, but we expect them to come into focus as the team learns more. It's easier to close these Knowledge Gaps if we break them down into smaller ones. That makes the knowledge we build more useful in the present and more reusable and extensible for future teams.

But how far do we break them down? In our experience, the idea is the unit of knowledge.

I wrote the first version of this Knowledge Brief all the way back in 2011, when we were first starting to grapple with the problem of how to manage Knowledge Gaps that were big and fuzzy, if part of the goal was to create reusable and extensible knowledge.

After a discussion I had at our workshop last week in Boston, I decided it was time to give this Knowledge Brief a fresh look.

 

Key Takeaways

  • The single, focused idea is the unit of knowledge.
  • It’s much easier to capture knowledge, reuse it and extend it if it is maintained in small pieces that are easier to write about, read about and experiment with.
  • Big, fuzzy Knowledge Gaps can be difficult to break down but it helps to start with some learning to establish some scope boundaries and understand the current state of the knowledge.

 

The Idea Is the Unit of Knowledge: Why Sharply Focused Key Decisions and Knowledge Gaps Build Extensible Knowledge

Single-Focused-Idea-Letter.pdf

Single-Focused-Idea-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

The Internal Evidence to Drive Organic Growth: Why You Need a Pilot Program for RLCs

posted Jul 5, 1:40 am (526 days ago), permalink

Why Pilot Teams

Most organizations who are now using Rapid Learning Cycles started with a pilot program. This program asked the question, "Can the Rapid Learning Cycles framework help OUR organization the way it's helped other organizations like ours?"

A good pilot team experience tests this hypothesis, and it helps the team gain valuable experience that will make it easier to make decisions about how to scale Rapid Learning Cycles to the whole organization.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes why a pilot team is a good place to start with the Rapid Learning Cycles framework.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid Learning Cycles pilot teams answer the question: will Rapid Learning Cycles work within your organization?
  • The best pilot is a clean test of the framework - after you’ve seen what barriers it bumps into, you can make better decisions about adaptations.
  • A good pilot team experience can drive organic adoption across the organization.

 

The Internal Evidence to Drive Organic Growth: Why You Need a Pilot Program for Your First Steps with Rapid Learning Cycles

Why-Pilot-Teams-Letter.pdf

Why-Pilot-Teams-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

The Elements of the RLC Framework: A Glossary of Key Concepts and Useful Terms

posted Jul 5, 1:36 am (526 days ago), permalink

RLC Glossary

A book study group asked me to put together a list of the Key Terms used in The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product. I use these terms in precise ways to ensure that my teams are in alignment about the most important aspects of the Rapid Learning Cycles framework.

Some of these are terms I created. Others are words that we've tossed about within the New Product Development community, or even within the broader group of Innovators and R & D Leaders. Consultants and authors use some of them often, but not often as precisely as I do to ensure that the Rapid Learning Cycles framework maintains its integrity.

At the same time, the framework is continuing to evolve, and so this is a reflection of the current state of my thinking. You may disagree with some of the definitions or you may have come up with better ones. If so, consider emailing me with your suggestions for improvement.

This week's Knowledge Brief is the glossary of the Key Terms that any Rapid Learning Cycles team needs to use well for the framework to deliver the benefits it promises.

 

The Elements of the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework: A Glossary of Key Concepts and Useful Terms

RLC-Glossary-Letter.pdf

RLC-Glossary-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

Promises You Can Keep: Why the RLC Framework Builds Confidence in R & D's Ability

posted Jul 5, 1:31 am (526 days ago), permalink

RLC Builds Partner Confidence

It's exciting to visit a company that has enough longevity with the Rapid Learning Cycles framework to fully realize the benefits. The most exciting benefit for me is when I see that business partners have restored confidence that R & D can deliver their most strategic projects.

That frees up the company to go for bigger, more ambitious goals - because they know that the R & D team will be able to deliver. They see that product development programs launch on time, and that customers are happier with the final product.

They see that R & D doesn't reject innovative ideas - instead, the teams break them down into Key Decisions and Knowledge Gaps that generate the knowledge the company needs to decide whether or not an idea will lead to a finished product.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes why the Rapid Learning Cycles framework rebuilds relationships with partners to increase the organization's trust and confidence in R & D.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework builds collaborative relationships with partners from the beginning of product development.
  • The framework provides flexibility to respond to new information about customer and market needs, competing products and new technical capabilities.
  • The framework reduces late design changes caused by technical surprises, reducing the amount of “bad news” partners hear about R & D’s ability to deliver.

 

Promises You Can Keep: Why the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework Builds Confidence in R & D's Ability to Deliver

RLC-Partner-Confidence-Letter.pdf

RLC-Partner-Confidence-Tabloid.pdf

  

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

Tilt the Odds in Your Favor: Why the RLC Framework Increases Innovation Success

posted Jul 5, 1:13 am (526 days ago), permalink

Success Rate Innovation

Some innovation "experts" like to throw around numbers like 80% of innovation programs fail. But they are counting the ones that get cancelled early. The true average number of products that reach the market every year, but have disappointing sales or poor quality, is about 40%.

This is a number that has held steady for over fifty years, despite all the design automation tools, customer-driven innovation approaches, phase-gate Product Development processes and better metrics. "Skunkworks," "radical innovation" and "disruptive / breakthrough innovation" programs have about the same failure rates, too - for the products like this that actually make it to the market.

The truth is that this number isn't getting better because none of these approaches tackle the true cause of product failures post-launch: the team is forced to make decisions too early to know how to make them well, and then don't validate those decisions until it's too late to undo them. This is the problem that the Rapid Learning Cycles framework solves, by breaking up these long, slow, painful learning cycles.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes the three ways that the Rapid Learning Cycles framework addresses this fundamental root cause of expensive, late product failures to improve the success rate for new products, by pulling learning forward and pushing decisions later.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework provides just enough structure to the earliest phases of innovation to pull creativity and a deep understanding of customer and market needs.
  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework helps teams identify obstacles that would cause the product to fail in late development or out in the market, so these projects can stop earlier.
  • The Rapid Learning Cycles framework accelerates development for the best ideas, including the breakthrough innovations that are hard to sustain in a corporate environment.

 

Tilt the Odds in Your Favor: Why the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework Increases the Success Rate for Innovation

Success-Rate-Innovation-Letter.pdf

Success-Rate-Innovation-A3.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

Help Your Team Band Together: Five Reasons Why Your Program Needs a Kickoff Event

posted Jul 5, 1:08 am (526 days ago), permalink

Five Reasons for a Kickoff Event

Even the most professional musicians take time to warm up before they go out on stage. Kickoff Events serve the same function for your program: they help the team get coordinated and aligned so that they can work well together when it counts.

Teams leave Kickoff Events with a better understanding of the program's mission and the part they will play in achieving it. The investment in time and money it takes to bring a team together pays dividends with better communication and decision-making.

This week's Knowledge Brief describes the five reasons why your program needs a face to face Kickoff Event if you are serious about the success of your program.

 

 

 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Kickoff Events are worth the investment because they coordinate and align the team to build trust, speed communication and improve decision making.
  • The team will spend most of its time building a plan that the team owns together.
  • Kickoff Events are face to face meetings.

 

Help Your Team Band Together: Five Reasons Why Your Program Needs a Kickoff Event

Five-Reasons-Kickoff-Event-Letter.pdf

Five-Reasons-Kickoff-Event-Tabloid.pdf

 

This Knowledge Brief may be freely distributed without modifications in its original PDF form, including all authorship, copyright and contact information. Other uses require our explicit permission.

 

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