Internal Barriers to Successful Product Development

August 20th, 2013 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

'City Speed' photo (c) 2010, New York City Department of Transportation - license:

There are many reasons why new products or services are not successful in the Marketplace.  Let’s take a look at 12 of those reasons.

1.    Inadequate Commitment by Top Management

Halfhearted support of a project will be seen by the organization as permission to just do the minimum to get the product out the door.

2.    Sub-optimal Attention, Understanding and Support Can Stop Innovation

If the team is not keeping their eye on the ball little mistakes and misunderstandings can steamroll into bigger mistakes and misunderstandings.  The result is a product launch that is flawed because the design is not precisely followed.

3.    Bureaucratic Development Processes

Don’t make it easier to be plain vanilla.  If your system is so onerous staff will not go the extra mile to innovate.

4.    What Development Process?

The opposite of number 3.  No process is worse because there are no defined stages to stop and measure, and evaluate and think.

5.    Product Managers Pulled in Multiple Directions

If product managers are spending most of their time on baseline activities they cannot work on the new and different product and services.

6.    Risk Averse Culture

Managing and evaluating risk is important.  Testing and adjusting ad nauseum trying to eliminate all risk will delay a product to market or strip it of its “edge.”

7.    Support Function Servicing Multiple Masters

I worked in a matrixed organization for years.  Serving more than one master was difficult.  Areas like R&D and engineering are being pulled in different directions by product development teams.  Don’t make it a popularity contest.

8.    Don’t Eat Your Young

An unsupportive corporate culture will stifle new ideas and thoughts.  These challenge the status quo, which makes folks uncomfortable.

9.    Moving Definitions of Success

If senior management keeps moving the goal posts, then how can you ever get there?

10. Pennywise and Pound Foolish

Product Development is an investment in the business not an expense to minimize this quarter.

11. WIIFM (What is in it for me?)

Looking out for your own self-interest or for your career is not necessarily what is best for the business.

12. The Numbers Say….

Only considering the immediate financial impact can cause the organization to miss opportunities.  Some products are necessary for flanking or future opportunities.  The sales numbers cannot capture consumer sentiment or brand perception.

The Takeaway

New products are the lifeblood of organizations.  Stop the internal reasons that are preventing your company from successfully rolling out new products.

Those are the reasons.  Over to you.  Please comment below.

  1. What other reasons would you add to the list?
  2. How do you minimize the internal reasons for product delay or failure?
  3. How have you overcome obstacles in your company?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Also, lack of creativity might be one barrier to successful product development. When product is especially targeted, certain creativeness is much important. lack of Proper risk management might be another reason. Those organizations which take proper care of such internal barriers become successful product development company someday.

© 2009-2018 Rob Berman's Blog All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright