In the world of hardware new product introduction, a broken process can have severe consequences, jeopardizing the success of a product launch and hurting the reputation of a company. So, it is crucial to understand the warning signs that a process is disfunctional. Whether it’s slipping schedules, exceeding budgets, or missing requirements, recognizing the signs allows teams to intervene in time.

Learn the ten warning signs and understand the potential impacts they can have on your product launch. By familiarizing yourself with these signs, you can take proactive measures to address them before they escalate into more significant problems.

1. Slipping the schedule

Your actual schedule is not meeting your planned schedule. This may result from unclear product requirements, lack of resources, misallocation of resources, a lean budget, feature creep, and/or changing requirements.

2. Exceeding the budget

This results from underestimating all costs associated with product development and regulatory and test processes and is often combined with a slipping schedule.

3. Exceeding your product cost target

This is often caused by underestimating costs associated with the product. Aspects such as production test, volume materials pricing, packaging, and labeling are often overlooked.

4. Missing requirements and/or feature creep

When the product requirements are not clearly defined, the definition of the product during the development process will “creep,” which helps to create the previous warning signs.

5. Lack of critical resources and/or rapid team growth

This is common in well-funded startups, where it is not possible to hire resources fast enough to meet plans or hiring resources occurs faster than the ability to onboard and integrate team members effectively.

6. Breakdown in communications

Communication breakdowns are often tied to rapid team growth and result from cultural misalignment from new hires or unrealistic expectations that impact communications.

7. Customer “beta” test failures

Such failures are common when development schedules are tight and verification plans are thin. This usually means a product redesign is needed (see impacts above).

8. Low manufacturing yields

Low yields are found when ramping volume manufacturing and often results from design-related issues and/or a rushed product realization process.

9. High number of pre- and post-launch engineering change orders

These indicate a weak development process that has not fully incorporated product requirements into the design nor comprehensive validation testing.

10. High number of field failures and product returns

This is the last place that you want to see product failures, as these will directly erode your client satisfaction and brand quality. Such returns indicate a broken product development and validation process.

If you are experiencing a few of these, you should take mitigating actions. If you are experiencing more than five, your product will likely be at serious risk.

Awareness is the first step to reduce risks and ensure the success of your product launch. If you are unsure if this applies to your new product introduction, take PRG’s Agile Hardware Product Rapid Assessment and gain insight into your risk in just a few minutes. If you know your new product introduction process is at risk, download a free sample of the eBook Agile Hardware Product Realization that addresses risk and learn best practices for addressing these concerns and getting your hardware product launch back on track.

From slipping schedules to field failures, each sign presents a unique challenge that requires prompt attention. You can minimize the negative impacts on your project by recognizing these indicators and taking necessary actions, such as refining product requirements, improving communication channels, and strengthening the development process. Remember, the number of warning signs you experience is a crucial factor in determining the severity of the risk. Be honest with yourself and your team, address the issues proactively, and strive for continuous improvement to maintain the quality and effectiveness of your product development process.

As always, we are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation today with one of Product Realization’s Group hardware experts.