Software tools and e-learning applications may facilitate greatly new product development (NPD) processes by minimising costs and reducing risks associated with NPD. The NDP roadmap that we have developed at URENIO may help companies and organisations to create new products or upgrade existing ones through a series of logical steps, starting from the process of idea generation and ending at the launch of the product into the market.
We have divided the overall NPD process in a series of activities called ‘Levels’ and control points, called ‘Assessments’. Each Level contains information and well-defined series of activities concerned with the particular Level. Each Assessment is a decision point where senior management can keep on or stop funding the process. A Level contains all the information and tools that are needed to successfully complete a particular task. An Assessment contains the required questions or specifications or mandates to which the results of the previous Level are compared to so that a go / kill or hold decision can be made.
The roadmap is structured in seven levels: (1) Idea Generation, (2) Idea Screening, (3) Concept Development & Testing, (4) Business Analysis, (5) Beta & Market Testing, (6) Technical Implementation, and (7) Product Commercialisation.
Each Level is split up in sections that include the definition of the problem that the Level is asked to tackle, a possible solution to the problem and an analysis of the tools available to tackle the problem. Each tool is properly defined, the references, on-line resources, software sources and consultancies or organizations that can help to use the tool are given and case studies of where and how the toll has been used are presented in separate sections. All Assessments are designed to work interactively with a potential roadmap user. Also tools and templates developed are given for the same reason.
The roadmap can be used not only as an informative tool but also as a complete guide of a NPD process. The tools, best practices and other relevant material presented, explained and analysed further down in the report are in most cases given in the form of files linked to this document so that a reader can use them to perform his own NPD process.