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NPD Practices: The Dark Side of Time and Time Metrics in Product Innovation

Robert G. Cooper and Scott J. Edgett

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Time and time metrics sometimes backfire in the NPD world. For example, in one engineered products firm, the goal was to cut cycle time by half. At first glance, the goal was an admirable one, but the results were unexpected: projects floundered, project scopes were cut back, and NPD profits suffered dramatically. Another case: In an effort to boost short term profits, the senior executive in a major electronic components company declared that the goal was to do "more with less;" sadly that really meant "doing less," and so their new product initiatives were understaffed and underfunded; and predictably, results suffered.