Community Forum – What is your cost per project for early stage discovery?
Innovation comes with many iterations and discovery, especially when exploring early stage technology. We’d like to know how companies allocate their resources for such early stage projects along with the breakdown of using internal versus external resources.
3. What factors are considered when setting a budget?
- Scope of effort, criticality to the business.
- Justified on a project by project basis.
- Complexity of project and new technology requirements.
- Alignment with business strategy or potential disruption of the technology.
- Potential of the discovery to be incorporated into a product or that aligns with the corporate strategy.
- Business need and potential of technology.
- Minimum amount of labor and equipment needed to determine viability of further funding the project.
- Broader portfolio of projects and activities, the potential return, last test first to quickly de-risk early stage before committing further product development resources.
- Project priority and associated milestones.
- Technology complexity, degree of integration needed, hardware vs software.
- Work is time-bound, so budget is usually an outcome of progress that can be made to a milestone within a fixed time-frame.
- How new the market and technology are, drives expertise and cost of external resources.
- Novelty and potential size of benefit.
- Technical complexity.
4. How do you manage and gauge progress on discovery projects?
- Routine (monthly or quarterly as appropriate) reviews.
- Periodic review meetings
- Depends on the business unit. The most sophisticated has an idea management process with defined stages and a governance process. Others are largely under the control of the marketing director for the business unit and region.
- Architecture review operational decisions.
- Key milestones are set and progress reviewed on a routine basis.
- Progress against the statement of work; shared internal interest from business partners on interim results.
- Pace at which domain knowledge is increased.
- Time remaining to reach a conclusion of the viability of further funding the project.
- Begin with setting clear goal or target benchmarks (i.e. non-optimized targets for proof of concept). Review weekly or monthly progress of team and development status. Allow team to set milestones with go/no go to demonstrate objectives with purposeful iterations while encouraged to quickly kill projects that struggle to achieve intended outcomes.
- Check steps
- Via milestone reviews, monthly summaries.
- Results against acceptance criteria which is established before commencing work. Objective is to fail early and learn.
- We don’t. Done in less than a month. Only consider preliminary assessment and early feasibility as part of discovery projects.
- Define learning-based milestones.
- Timelines with milestones