Study Reveals Product Companies’ Biggest Pains and Risks in Driving Innovation

    By: PDMA Headquarters on Jun 28, 2012

    How are product organizations making decisions? Can they access proper data or metrics to develop the right products at the right time? If not, how can product leaders prioritize projects that will drive innovation and growth? The 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study gathered input from 320 product development leaders from around the world across industries on their priorities, risks, and pain points related to product portfolio management (PPM).

    The following topics represent a snapshot of the study’s key findings. The full results are available at:

    The Pain Points

    For the third time and by a wider margin this year, the top three pain points for product portfolio managers are:

    • Too many projects for resources (68%)
    • Not being able to drive innovation fast enough (53%)
    • Decisions that go back and forth and get made late or ineffectively (56%)

    These inter-related challenges reveal that many organizations still don’t have access or visibility to the data and consistent metrics needed to prioritize projects, drive innovation without adding resources, and ultimately deliver winning products to market.

    The Risks

    In the top risks identified, “Not cutting lower value products that take away resources from other projects” indicates that many organizations continue to resist killing underperformers. This inhibits their ability to properly allocate resources to the highest-value projects to meet innovation demands and continues the threat of too many projects for resources.

    Missing the voice of the customer and developing the wrong products” was also in the top three risks and through the research, the root causes identified are that companies continue to rely on informal ways to capture market inputs and that data is not consistent for comparing projects or doing scenario analysis.

    Forecasting & Resources

    Participants were asked to rate their accuracy of forecasting in terms of Costs, Schedule, and Expected Revenue. Whereas more than half were positive on the ability to project costs, only one-third are confident in revenue forecasts. While the full report considers several reasons why revenue projections are off, the takeaway is that there are significant ramifications to business decision making over the usage of finite resources based on inaccurate forecasting information.

    With nearly 70% of participants stating that too many projects for their resources is their number one pain point, resource capacity forecasting must be a key concern for organizations. The report uncovers the underlying challenges product developers must manage for effective resource capacity planning.


    As we look at the trends in benchmarking the results since 2009, there is an increasing acknowledgment in the risk of relying on spreadsheets or project tools, which are unfit for the complex job of managing product portfolios for multi-product companies. The study shows that:

    • The use of automated Product Portfolio Management systems has doubled since 2010
    • The evaluation of PPM solutions expanded six-fold in the same period

    Could addressing PPM more effectively become a competitive differentiator?

    Companies require consistent processes, tools, and metrics to improve data availability, accuracy, and visibility. Download the full report to take a deeper dive into the topics covered here as well as a look at the trends in the investment analysis process and how the global economic conditions is impacting product pipelines, and get recommendations companies may take to gain more control over their product pipelines and innovation plans.

    Study Background

    Conducted by Appleseed Partners and Open Sky Research, both independent consulting research firms, and commissioned by Planview, the 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study consisted of an online quantitative survey and analysis of the results. The full report includes study methodology, demographics, additional results, findings, and recommendations

    To access a video webcast, “The State of Product Portfolio Management,” presented by Maureen Carlson, partner, Appleseed Partners, and Carrie Nauyalis, product line manager, Planview, featuring the initial findings from the benchmark study, visit the PIPELINE 2012 Virtual Conference On Demand.

    Released: June 28, 2012, 11:40 am | Updated: August 30, 2013, 12:36 pm
    Keywords: PDMA Academic Blog | PDMA Blog | Driving Innovation | Product Portfolio Management Benchmark | Risk

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