Best Practices for Analytics Reporting Throughout the Product Development Process

| Product Portfolio Management | Product Lifecycle Management | Food & Beverage
Posted By: Trace One

Trace One_best-practices-analytics-PLM

Trace One's Product Portfolio Management solution, the Innovation Process Management Suite (IPMS) allows organizations to manage the entire product portfolio, and individual projects, start to finish. It serves up real-time project and portfolio data that allows project teams and management the tools to effectively make decisions and keep within strategy. 

Paul Cegles, Director of Product Portfolio Management at Trace One, says that for leaders accustomed to gathering data they need from a CRM, scattered folders, emails, and spreadsheets, “Implementing the IPMS can feel like turning on the lights for the first time.”

Users will find a dedicated panel for Marketing, R&D, Compliance and other functional groups that have a hand in project success. Each group is able to add vital data to an orderly central repository. The result is a one-stop source where product leaders can create a business case for new iterations, make smart decisions about resourcing, and decide when it’s time to pull the plug on one project and invest in another.

Having access to so much data is exhilarating, but like any powerful tool, it is most effective when applied thoughtfully. Here are Paul Cegles’ recommendations from the field, for using IPMS analytics to the best effect.

Narrow the focus to enable faster decisions

With hundreds of projects underway, the amount of information flooding in can grow enormous. Paul comments, “Before long, you could have thirty dashboards open, and everyone is spending their time dissecting the data instead of making decisions.”

To avoid this Paul drew from his own experience, along with the experience of best-in-class CPG leaders, to create a core set of fifteen dashboards. “They work at the individual project level, providing a summary of project stats. And they also work at the portfolio level, taking a big picture view of hundreds of projects, resource capacity, financial return, whether we are frontend or backend loaded, and time to market statistics.”

The core set of dashboards offered in the IPMS provide the necessary metrics to make decisions at the portfolio and project level. This allows projects to stay on track and keep the portfolio consistent with your corporate strategic goals. 

Customize dashboards to fit the organization

Every product and every organization has its own unique challenges and opportunities to contend with. Ideally the data at decision makers’ fingertips reflects that distinction.

After implementing the core set of dashboards inside the IPMS as a best-in-class template, leaders can begin to evaluate how the information works against their own problems and goals. Once they identify gaps in their visibility, they can make smart alterations.  

Paul notes, “Now that we’ve integrated Business Intelligence into Trace One Devex PLM and the IPMS, clients can add custom dashboards specific to the organization. This can include a corporate one-page dashboard for a quick evaluation of your organizations portfolio or specific areas of focus.”   

Tap into the potential of comprehensive resource tracking

Visibility into resourcing empowers leaders to make informed staffing decisions. But they can do more than just improve productivity and reduce burnout among their best teams – the right resource data also gives them the leverage they need to build a smoother, more efficient future.

“Resource capacity management is one of the most powerful features of the IPMS, especially for managers working on multiple projects, who need an accurate way to forecast their time,” Paul reports. “But more importantly, when you do that across the portfolio, you start to get a clear picture of where you will have extra capacity and constraints throughout the entire year. You can preemptively make a case for temporary employees if you notice you’re going to be understaffed next quarter, for example, instead of having to scramble for resources after a slowdown has already occurred.”

Read our post on best practices for resource management. 

Set a cadence of post-launch tracking to build accountability

The best tool for building a culture of accuracy and transparency is post-launch tracking. Paul explains, “Sometimes marketing can unintentionally inflate forecasts, and later product managers find themselves asking, ‘Why are we $4 million behind? Is the sales team not meeting their goals?’ If there is no system for retrospective launch analytics, the inflation can continue unnoticed, as teams move quickly to try to make up the difference. Post-launch tracking changes that behavior over time. When post-launch tracking becomes a predictable, scheduled activity, it encourages leaders to be careful and accurate with their forecasts in the future, because they expect to be held accountable. It’s an organizational change.”

Paul recommends a cadence of three touch points for post-launch tracking: three, six, and twelve months after release. “Go back and start looking at actuals – volume, sales data, etc. and see if there’s a gap. Recognize where the breakdown occurred and review lessons learned with the project teams. The more you do that the more you can make better decisions going forward.”