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Winning At New Products Hardcover – Import, 1988
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About the Author
Robert G. Cooper is Professor of Marketing at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University. Creator of the widely employed Stage-Gate(tm) product development process, he is the author of several books on product development and was the 1998 recipient of the Crawford Award from the Product Development and Management Association. He lives in Oakville, Ontario. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book outlines the risks, roadmaps, hurdles and objectives to a build. He addresses the most important aspects that have the greatest impact on a project and how to incorporate history and strategies to help you get the ROI on the project.
Cooper does not candy coat anything and is not a cheer leader. He substantiates his viewpoints with a history of successful and not so successful companies and projects. By using their experience and successes, the reader will easily find something they can relate to in a past, current, or future build project that will greatly benefit them.
The third edition text outlines the basic structure. It provides best practices and practical advice for each stage. The author emphasizes the importance of speed and ways to use the stage-gate approach to deliver timely results, addressing the common criticism that the stage-gate process is inherently inflexible and slow. The 6 F's approach includes flexibility, fuzzy gates, fluidity, focus, facilitation and forever green. The basic risks of an overly rigid gate system are addressed, perhaps over-addressed. There is no in-depth treatment or review of alternate approaches to new product development that make time to market the primary focus.
A significant amount of survey research is presented to define product introduction pitfalls and critical success factors. None of this is surprising, but the many lists provide a framework for product management practitioners to evaluate the effectiveness of their processes.
The book provides several useful decision-making frameworks, including marketing/technology success factors, new to company/market, risks through time, risk/reward grids, gate decisions, and portfolio reviews.
Overall, this is the best new product intro text available. It is addressed to marketing oriented product managers in large corporations, but is useful for anyone playing a role in a new product introduction process.
The author promotes a high investment approach to new product development, best fitting a Fortune 200 firm. There are 5 stages, 5 gates, 6 F's, 7 goals, 8 points, 8 key factors and 15 critical success factors. Professor Cooper does not believe in shortcuts.
Start with the stage-gate basics in chapter 5. Digest the other chapters as the need arises.
The book broadly consists of three different parts. The first provides a background, the second provides guidelines for stage-gate and the last looks at strategy.
The first four chapters try to convince the reader that new products and Robert Coopers ideas (stage-gate and the product he sells) are very good ideas. It's full of research 'evidence', but it seems to be coming from the same few sources. Also some of the conclusions from the research evidence are somewhat far fetched, in my opinion. Anyways, it did contain some useful information, like the effort spend on market research in early phases of a product is often not enough.
The second part occupies most of the book and looks at the different stages in the stage-gate process. The focus of the book is actually NOT so much on the product development itself, but mainly on the marketing and product management aspect. This is important to realize, if you wanted a book on product development, you better look at other books like Don Reinertsens "Managing the Design Factory". Chapter 8 is a sidetrack chapter which talks about portfolio management. Chapter 10 is suppose to talk about the lat stage, but instead it seems to be a summary of the marketing issues needed throughout the whole development, which makes me wonder a little about the things that actually need to be done on the last stage.
Some of the problems I had and have with stage-gate is that it does provide a very serial view on developing products. First start with marketing and "nail down the spec". Hand it over to development and then do testing. Cooper tries to explain that this is not the case, but it is very hard to make that conclusion when, on the next page, he says "nail down the spec before the development starts." He sometimes doesn't seem to know what he is actually advising. In that sense, the book did not convince me at all that stage-gate is a good idea, especially in fast cycle time products and software development.
The last chapter covered strategy, but did so in a very minor way. It was still useful to include it to make the book one whole.
I actually liked Coopers book. It had a strong marketing focus and I learned from that. I do not agree with some of the ideas Cooper has and also his references seem to be limited. Though, his writing style is absolutely awful. It's so popular! He uses exclamation marks every other sentence! Writes in absolutes! It really annoyed me!
I thinking between 3 and 4 stars. Its certainly not "the product development bible" as Cooper claims himself. I decided to go for three stars mainly because of his annoying writing style and because the book could be written in 1/4th the amount of pages (a lot of blah blah). If you read one book on product development, this is not it. If you want to study the area more broadly, this book certainly needs to be included.
If you want to know the time tested immutable fundamentals that actually work...this is the book for you.