Idea to Market Process Management through Information Systems

The process of bringing products to market is a challenge for many companies. Information Systems often make this process more manageable.

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Recent Posts

Factors that can slow down time to market: Regulatory Compliance

Factors that can slow down time to market – Human Resources

Factors that can slow down time to market

Lessons Learned in Idea to Market Projects Gone Wrong

Idea to Market Projects Gone Wrong

Factors that can slow down time to market: Regulatory Compliance


You’re in the middle of the project and some requirements come up related with regulatory compliance that you weren’t aware of. But what is regulatory compliance?

“Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations.(1) Due to the increasing number of regulations and need for operational transparency, organizations are increasingly adopting the use of consolidated and harmonized sets of compliance controls.(2) This approach is used to ensure that all necessary governance requirements can be met without the unnecessary duplication of effort and activity from resources.”(1)

If your project needs to comply with certain regulations it's possible that compliance reports and milestones may have been omitted as requirements. You may slow down time to market if you need to add them later on.

 Depending on the industry, different regulatory bodies govern these activities. Industries include, among others, the following:

  • Financial

  • Aviation

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Food Industry

  • Safety

  • Internal Compliance

Let me briefly touch on examples of these.


If the project you’re managing is in the Financial Industry there may be some regulatory compliance associated with it.  An example of a regulatory compliance in the financial sector may be SEC disclosure requirements for reports generated by a system being developed through your project.  Make sure a Subject Matter Expert (SME) regarding the financial industry is available when putting together the requirements and estimating the work.


If the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs part of your business you should know that they have very specific Management Information System (MIS) Report specifications for companies with employees performing safety-sensitive functions. Examine these specs well to introduce them as part of the requirements and design of your project.


“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products, and medical devices. The FDA is also responsible for the safety and security of most of our nation’s food supply, all cosmetics, dietary supplements and products that give off radiation.” (3)

Take into account all pertinent regulations to your project. If your project deals with Medical devices, your FDA SME should be aware of what to report, the reporting forms, the recipient and the time interval.  As an example, deaths, serious injuries and malfunctions should use Form FDA 3500A, should be reported to the FDA and it should be reported within 30 calendar days of becoming aware of an event.  All detailed specification should be defined at the onset of the project to avoid delays in your project.

Food Industry

Projects in the food industry may be dealing with a variety of topics such as GMO reporting, food traceability, restaurant standard operating procedures, etc. All these topics are governed in many instances by regulatory compliance. Do your research to make sure your taking this into account in the planning stage.


 If the project you’re managing involves operations & safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may have standards that you may need to incorporate.

These standards vary and depend on your industry, they may include topics such as Blood borne Pathogens, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Occupational Noise Exposure, Powered Industrial Trucks, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, Personal Protective Equipment and many others (4).

Consider bringing an OSHA expert to help with requirements and design if you think they apply to your project.

Internal Compliance

Lastly the organization may have internal regulatory compliance rules. Any project should take these into account.

In my next blog I will touch on other factors that may slow down time to market.


Diego Ferrer, PMP



  1. Compliance, Technology, and Modern Finance, 11 Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law 159 (2016)

  2. Jump up ^ Silveira, P., Rodriguez, C., Birukou, A., Casati, F., Daniel, F., D'Andrea, V., Worledge & C., Zouhair, T. (2012), Aiding Compliance Governance in Service-Based Business Processes, IGI Global, pp. 524–548

  3. FDA Fundamentals.

  4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)


Posted on: March 20, 2017 05:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Factors that can slow down time to market – Human Resources

Categories: Idea to Market

“You might have sensed that it seems to be taking longer to snag an offer than in the past. You’re right. A recent study from the employment site found that the average interview process in the U.S. is now 22.9 days, nearly double the 12.6 days in 2010.” (1)

When estimating processes, do not just rely on anecdotal or even written information.

For example, if you need to acquire resources for your project and the Human Resources (HR) department informed you that it would take 6 weeks from posting to hiring, don’t plug that in your project schedule just yet.

Request past performance information of the hiring process for the last year on similar positions: this would give you a better picture of what to expect.

Understand the process from beginning to end. Some HR processes have several steps, such as: (2)

  • Identify Vacancy and Evaluate Need

  • Develop Position Description

  • Develop Recruitment Plan

  • Select Search Committee

  • Post Position and Implement Recruitment Plan

  • Review Applicants and Develop Short List

  • Conduct Interviews

  • Select Hire

  • Finalize Recruitment

Some job positions may require a test, security clearance, etc.  As you can see hiring is not a trivial process. Make sure your timeline reflects the process from beginning to end to establish a firm baseline.

Next week I’ll l touch on the subject of Regulatory Compliance


  1. 7 Ways To Deal With Today's Long Job Hiring Process.
  2. University of California Riverside.


Posted on: March 13, 2017 11:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Factors that can slow down time to market

Categories: Idea to Market

You are a new Project Manager in a new organization and your idea is ready to be launched. You bring enthusiasm and experience and have all the documentation and a blueprint to success, but executing your plan is not going as smoothly as you would have liked.

You feel frustrated, but don’t blame the organization; sometimes your optimism ignores red flags.

You heard it before: “We’ve never done it that way” or “we tried that once”. Don’t ignore those comments, take them with a grain of salt and look at the root cause.

In my experience there are certain roadblocks that Project Managers sometimes don’t anticipate. They include:

  • Human Resources (HR) procedures

  • Regulatory Compliance

  • Procurement processes

  • Lack of organizational buy-in

  • New project sponsor

HR procedures to recruit new team members can be lengthy.  Regulatory compliance reports and milestones may have been omitted as requirements at the time of setting off the project schedule. Procurement processes can extend beyond the scheduled date if approvals are not completely understood at the beginning of the project. Lack of organizational buy-in can slow down approval milestones and enterprise cooperation. A new project sponsor can completely change the inertia of the project and even change its direction.

Be aware of these factors when starting a new project so your time-to-market doesn’t slow down.

In the next series of blogs I will explore each one of these in a little more detail.

Posted on: March 07, 2017 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Lessons Learned in Idea to Market Projects Gone Wrong

Lessons Learned

In my previous blog posting I went through some notorious projects gone wrong. In this article I will briefly discuss some of the lessons learned from those projects. Just to remind you they were: J.C. Penney, Coca-Cola’s “New Coke”, GM’s all-electric EV-1 project, Motorola’s Iridium satellite telephone, and Kellogg’s acquisition of Kashi.

One size doesn't fit all

One size doesn’t fit all

Ronald B. Johnson was very successful before he was hired as CEO of J.C. Penney. His strategy made sense: introduce designer boutiques, simplify products and, most significantly, stabilize prices.  “Johnson brought in ideas that worked in a different market with different customers and boldly pushed forward with his plans to implement them. His ideas were intriguing but the results were devastating as results weren’t there and the stock plummeted. Conviction is great, except for when it is misplaced” (1)

Reality vs. Perception

Reality Vs. Perception

Before the Coca Cola Company launched “new coke” they conducted a series of blind taste tests. For the most part consumers preferred the taste over the original formula.

As we know, the company was bombarded by complaints and ended up reverting to the original formula.

Even though people think of this as a conspiracy theory where the Coca Cola Company did this on purpose to gain publicity, I would disagree.

I think that consumer loyalty, which is driven by the perception they have of the product, more than the real taste, was the factor that caused this revolt.

Better Technology doesn’t necessarily brings better results

Technology on Fire

GM had, for all practical purposes, the first electric car in the US market. I don’t think the cars were necessarily faulty, I just think that the financial projections didn’t add up.

As I mentioned in my previous post GM’s all-electric EV-1 project costs were a billion dollars, produced very few vehicles and in 1996 almost all were destroyed once the leases ran out.

I think innovation for innovation’s sake is not the answer. Innovation needs to generate tangible benefits.

Wrong Market Foresight


Motorola’s Iridium satellite telephone was born of the idea that there would be huge regional gaps in the global network and that parts of the world would have no mobile phone coverage for a long time. That wasn’t the case and the target market soon shrank to insignificance. (3)

This is a perfect example of not looking at the market conditions and having the correct foresight.

Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors

Herzberg's Motivational Theory

In Kashi’s story, employees left largely because of the relocation of the company and Kashi had a 21% decline in revenue.

In Project Management we learn about Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory (sometimes known as Herzberg's Two Factor Theory). The psychologist Fredrick Herzberg wanted to understand employee satisfaction by asking people to describe situations where they felt really good, and really bad, about their jobs. No surprise that work conditions were a factor in dissatisfaction. Location is indeed a big part of work conditions. Kashi’s relocation and its corresponding decline in revenue is a good example of that.


So my summary thoughts as a PM from these lessons learned are as follows:

One size doesn’t fit all – Just because a certain  process, methodology or technology worked for a project in a different area does not mean that it will repeat success in your project. Look at similar projects and see what worked.

Reality vs. Perception – Sometimes raw benefits are not enough. Take into account environmental factors, user base loyalty, etc. As an example, a new email platform may be many times better than the existing one, but I can assure you that the user resistance will be very high if you try to replace it. Mitigate it with things that will bring the users peace of mind such as benefits realized in other companies, competitive information, testimonials, training, etc.

Better Technology doesn’t necessarily brings better results – Beware of “bleeding edge” technology projects. Act with caution if the technology chosen is pioneering technology within your field. It may sound exciting but the level of risk can be extraordinarily high. Make sure you rely on experts in that technology. 

Market Foresight – A PM doesn’t define the scope of the project, but just be mindful of ambitious projects that you perceive to have undefined market foresight. Make sure you have somebody on your team capable of reassuring you of the market landscape.  

Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors – Remember the Herzberg's fundamentals. Factors for satisfaction are: achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. Conversely, factors for dissatisfaction are: company policies, supervision, relationship with supervisor and peers, work conditions, salary, status and security. Be aware of the environment and manage these factors correctly to the best of your scope and abilities for your project.

As fun as this was, I just realized that with this and my previous posting, I have deviated from the main theme of the blog which is managing the Idea-to-Market process through Information Systems. I will re-focus my efforts towards Information Systems in my next posting.


Diego Ferrer, PMP



(1) Innovation Gone Wrong:

(2) Large company innovation gone wrong: Kashi vs. Kellogg’s:

(3) When Innovation Goes Wrong:


Posted on: January 26, 2016 06:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Idea to Market Projects Gone Wrong

Sign: Success or Failure

“Positive innovation requires change, but not all change is innovation and not all innovation is positive”. Those are the words of Erik Samdahl in his blog post “Innovation Gone Wrong” (1). I couldn’t agree more.

Project Managers more than ever need to be aware of the impact that projects they manage have on the business. Unfortunately not all Idea to Market projects are successful. In this blog posting I will go over some notorious examples in the market.

Erik Samdahl’s quote at the beginning of this posting was referring to the initiative to take the company J.C. Penney in a new direction, so I’ll start with that one.

J.C. Penney

Ronald B. Johnson was hired as CEO of J.C. Penney. For about a year and a half he tried to change the company by simplifying products & introducing designer boutiques.

His ideas were intriguing but the results were devastating as seen in the stock chart (2).

JC Penney Stock ChartRonald B. Johnson was removed in April of 2013 as CEO of J.C. Penney only 17 months after he was hired in an effort to take the company in a new direction.

Coca-Cola’s “New Coke”

In 1985 the Coca-Cola Company announced it was scrapping its original soda formula. Coca-Cola was trying to attract Pepsi fans with a sweeter version. In blind taste tests, consumers generally preferred "new Coke".

New Coke

After the announcement, the company was flooded with phone calls. It was reported that Coca-Cola received 40,000 letters of complaint. Three months after the announcement the company announced the return of Coca-Cola "classic".

GM’s all-electric EV-1 project

GM’s all-electric EV-1 project costs were a billion dollars and produced very few vehicles. The EV1, was an innovatively engineered attempt to jump-start GM’s 21st century. Some accounts mentioned that 1,100 vehicles were produced and leased to drivers in California and Arizona. In 1996 almost all were destroyed once the leases ran out.

EV1 Car Charging

GM's EV1 plugged into a charging station (4)

EV1 Cars Crushed

EV1's crushed at the junkyard - virtually all EV1's were destroyed (4)


Motorola’s Iridium satellite telephone

Motorola’s idea was that there would be huge regional gaps in the global network and that parts of the world would have no mobile phone coverage for a long time. That wasn’t the case and the target market soon shrank to insignificance. (3)

Kellogg’s acquisition of Kashi

“During the first eight years following the acquisition, Kellogg’s allowed Kashi to operate with great autonomy. Kashi’s sales grew 42% annually on a compound basis, to about $600 million in 2008, helping Kellogg’s to reclaim its leading position in the US cereal market.” (5) This sounds like a success story, so why am I using here? See what happened next: in 2007 Kellogg’s stopped giving Kashi the freedom to operate independently. By 2013, Kashi had a 21% decline in revenue and employees left largely because of the relocation of the company. Today, Kellogg’s is trying to repair the Kashi brand.

Kashi Cereal

Credit: Kashi

These initiatives are examples of how innovation, when conceived or managed wrong, can sometimes bring the opposite results as expected. In my next posting I will explore some of the root causes of these examples and will summarize lessons learned from ITM projects.

How would you like to be the Project Manager for one of these projects? What would you have done differently? Can you remember famous project blunders? Maybe one of your innovation projects went sour. Please, let me know your thoughts by posting your comments below.


Diego Ferrer, PMP



(1) Innovation Gone Wrong:


(3) When Innovation Goes Wrong:

(4) EV1 Car Pictures From The Movie: Who Killed The Electric Car:

(5) Large company innovation gone wrong: Kashi vs. Kellogg’s:


Posted on: December 02, 2015 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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