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Entroids Introduces the "Think-Plan-Do" framework for execution - A GPS for NDP journey


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Title: Entroids Introduces the "Think-Plan-Do" framework for execution - A GPS for NDP journey

New Product Development
Stage Gate Lean Startup Methods Provide Clarity
On What To Do In NPD And Project Management
Tools Are Required For How To Manage NPD.
Entroids is the best way
Entroids way
3 4 6 7 9 12 14 15
The Problem
The What How in NPD
The Solution
Why use Think-Plan-Do Framework
Tier 1 Think Project Needs
Tier 2 Create the Tactical Plan
Tier 3 Focus on Right Actions
Make accountability Focus a Habit
Chapter 1
The problem
Many New Products Fail Because They Are Poorly
Managed In Execution
Over 90 of new products fail. Poor execution of
a great idea is one of the top reasons for
failure of a great idea. New product development
(NPD) is challenging because it needs to be
nimble and lean.
In NPD, change is the norm. Market requirements
change as you experiment and learn from
customers. Technology risks frequently throw
challenging curve balls. Adding to the frenzy,
schedule changes frequently. If anything, it
might get pulled up with new customer
Poor execution of commercialization is a top
reason for new product failures. Chaotic world of
NPD requires execution to be lean and flexible
to avoid wasted effort and resources
Execution needs to be lean for many reasons. The
team has to change course frequently to avoid
wasted resources and money. It is easy to run
over budget and waste time by working on the
wrong things. Team members often work on multiple
projects. This makes it difficult to communicate
and focus on the right things. Team members are
constantly drawn to and get bogged with constant
firefighting in ongoing operations and urgent
tasks. Squeaky wheel always gets the grease
hence, busy work can bury what is important.
Chapter 2
The What and How in NPD execution
Stage Gate Or Lean Startup Methods Provide
Clarity On What To Do In NPD And Project
Management Tools Are Required For How To Manage
  • Conventional Project Management Tools do not Meet
    NPD Needs
  • Project management tools in the simplest format
    are task management and collaboration tools.
    These are great for small projects and personal
    productivity. Ex Trello, Basecamp etc.
  • Conventional project management evolved in the
    construction industry through Critical Path
    Methods and ways to maximize man and machine
    utilization. The end goal is defined and tool
    ensures the fasted and low cost way to achieve
    the end goal. Ex MS project
  • With the surge in IT projects, Scrum and agile
    tools were developed to convert the story boards
    to functioning software products.
  • In NPD the end goal is not defined and the story
    board is uncertain. Market and technology risks
    exist. NPD execution needs to be lean and
    flexible. Entroids is a tool made for engineering
    and technology NPD.

NPD projects use methods like Stage Gate or Lean
Startup as a guide for what to do in execution
and some kind of project management tools to
collaborate and organize for how to deliver
results. The what and how are important in
success. What to do is well researched. There
are many methods like Stage Gate roadmap by Dr.
Robert Cooper or Lean Startup process by Eric
Riese. But, how to deliver results is ad hoc at
best. Project management tools are used in
how, but they do not serve the needs of NPD.
Conventional project management tools are task
and collaboration tools. But NPD needs more. NPD
requires disciplined action, which is a
combination of sound tactical planning and timely
action. It behooves on the project leader to do
the tactical planning and adjust tasks and
actions in real time. The project manager becomes
the project sitter.
NPD requires disciplined action which is a
combination of sound tactical planning and timely
action. Conventional project management tools do
not help with both.
Conventional project management tools need a lot
of work to create and maintain. When change is
the norm, maintaining changes is a constant
chore. These tools do not help you determine what
is important, and identify tasks that slipped
through the cracks or which team member needs
help in focusing on right priorities or which
important risks or requirements are slacking and
which ones are getting most momentum.
Project management in NPD is little art and
little science
Chapter 3
The Solution
Entroids introduces the Think-Plan-Do framework
for execution A GPS for NPD journey
If you are planning a long road trip, it is
likely that you will use the zoom functionality
in the mapping software while planning activities
on route. You do not pan through several hundred
screens at street level. Yet, with Gantt tools
that is exactly what it feels like when you pan
through hundreds of rows of tasks. In product
development you need the ability to zoom into
tactical details and then be able to zoom out to
higher level to see the lay of the land and be
able to zoom into another area of the project
Think-plan-do framework links strategic project
needs to teams current actions enabling you to
zoom in and out of your execution journey like
google maps
Think-Plan-Do framework for product development
connects the high level strategic project needs
to daily actions and gives the ability to easily
step back and forth from high level needs to
actions deep in the trenches of execution. The
framework has a three tiered structure. At the
top tier are the important project needs such as
risks, milestones and requirements. The second
tier is the tactical plan. Plan the major tasks
required for each high level project need. This
is the bridge from strategic project needs to
activities. The third tier is where all the
actions reside. These are the nugget sized
actions required to complete the planned major
Chapter 4
Why you use Think-Plan-Do framework
Smart diagnostics and analytics help reduce
cognitive load required to update and manage
Spend less time in planning Reacting to change in
project management is a breeze. Whether a high
level need changed causing a different tactical
plan or if there is new learning in the field
that affects a high level need. The changing
course is visible and easy to manage, because of
the linkage of tactics and plans through the
three tier structure. Communication Communication
of the changing priorities and focus becomes
easy. This is no longer dependent on the project
leader. Lean execution The tight alignment from
the top and down ensures that there are no wasted
efforts. Visual Management Visual dashboards
improve transparency and productivity. Dashboards
quickly provide revealing insights on problems in
  • Thought Leadership Put Into Action
  • We learnt from experts and packaged the
    principles in a easy to use practical tool. Some
    of the sources of inspiration are below
  • The Lean Startup By Eric Ries
  • Business Model Generation By Alex Osterwalder
  • Execution By Larry Bossidy Ram Charan
  • First Things First By Stephen Covey
  • Mastering Lean Product Development By Ronald
  • The 4 Disciplines Of Execution By Chris McChesney
    Sean Covey

Automate accountability Visually see each team
members progress and contribution. Switch
between team view and personal view in all tiers
with a simple toggle. Smart diagnostics Quickly
see what slipped through the crack s with built
in alerts and diagnostics. This reduces the
cognitive burden and human dependency in critical
functions. Reporting Automatic reports for
executives and team members in multiple formats
Tier 1 Strategic Project Needs Not Strategy but
Project related most important needs
Tier 3 Focus On Actions What needs to be done now
Tier 2 Tactical Planning Execution Plan For
Each Need
Think-Plan-Do Framework for NPD execution
Chapter 5
Tier 1 -Think Project Needs (Think-Plan-Do)
Think tier is the connection to strategic
planning. These are the most important needs for
project to succeed
At the core of NPD there are four pillars of
execution in the project management. These
identify the most important project needs.
Success depends on defining and executing on
these four pillars. Below is a description of
each pillar and is presented as a separate visual
tool. The four tools can be accessed in the THINK
tab on the website.
The four pillars of execution are Business model
hypothesis, Risks, Product Requirements
Milestones. THINK tier provides visual tools for
each pillar. It is the link to strategic planning.
  • The four pillars of execution
  • Business Model Canvas
  • A product (or service) is a solution to an urgent
    and widespread problem. The solution starts as a
    hypothesis based on several assumptions. There
    are nine important types of hypothesis to
    consider that are captured on the business model
    canvas. State the hypothesis on the one page
    canvas and create experiments to validate and
    refine the product and solution.

The famous one page business model canvas by Alex
Osterwalder has been adapted to make it more
actionable for engineering NPDs
9 segments In A Business Model Canvas
2. Risks There are two broad types of NPD
projects -evolutionary and breakthrough products.
Evolutionary products are derivatives of an
existing product, and breakthrough products
disrupt existing market and products. Both are
important, evolutionary products meet existing
customer needs and keep the lights on. They are
important to sustain an organization.
Breakthrough products are important for long term
growth and adapt to technology and market
changes. Any NPD project has significant risks.
Evolutionary products primarily have schedule and
quality risks and breakthrough products have
significant market and technology risks.
Understand the risks and mitigate them through
the execution journey. Identify your risks in
the risk manager tool and actively mitigate them
through appropriate tactical plan and timely
action. Visual dashboard communicates the
severity of risks in terms probability and
Five Areas of Risk There are five broad areas of
risks Product A tangible object, technology or
service offered for sale Market A commercial
activity where goods and services are
sold Business A commercial enterprise that
produces a product or service to be sold in the
market Finance the capital and cash flow
required to achieve milestones that lead to
success Execution the experience, skills and
processes required to carry out a business plan.
3. Requirements A product delivers value to
customers through a set of features. NPD
execution delivers these features at reasonable
costs and effort. Not all requirements are equal.
There are core requirements that deliver the
value proposition and there are other
requirements that add expected functionality and
improve usability. Lean startup methodology
introduced the concept of MVP. Build an MVP of
the core features and test the value proposition
with customers. Get feedback and refine your
features. This is an ongoing process till you
have verified and refined all the
features. Manage MVP and feature development
through visual tools to evaluate requirements on
value delivered Vs effort required. Create
validations and deliverables and manage their
execution seamlessly. 4. Milestones Guy
Kawasaki said execution is about managing
milestones, assumptions and tasks. Create
milestones in the milestone tracker. If you use
stage gate process by Dr Robert Cooper, the gates
can be your milestones. Or you can create your
own milestones. Create deliverables and actions
to attain milestones. Visually track each
milestone as to required date vs expected date
based on the underlying tasks.
Required vs. Estimated
Great leaders think like a strategist and plan
like a tactician. The ability to combine both is
rare and makes the difference Entroids seamlessly
makes the connection between strategic thinking
and tactical planning
Chapter 6
Tier 2 - Plan Major Tasks (Think-Plan-Do)
Lay the foundation for execution. Create the
tactical plan by defining major tasks required
for every need in the Think tools.
Strategic project needs identified in the four
pillars lead to the plan tier, which is to
translate the needs into tactical plan. For
each need identify one or more major task. Major
tasks for risks should be mitigation,
requirements should be validation, assumptions on
canvas should have experiments etc. The major
tasks should be complex requiring significant
effort. Generalize and combine actions to create
planned major tasks.
Creating the major tasks is the trickiest part of
using the think-plan-do framework. Resist the
temptation to create actions as tasks. Think of
Major tasks as goals in execution, driven by
project needs defined in the four pillars.
Create the tactical plan for each strategic
project need. PLAN tier provides a visual Gantt
chart to create the tactical plan. Each THINK
need is automatically linked to a PLAN item for
Productivity expert Stephen Covey uses the
analogy of filling jar with rocks and pebbles in
explaining planned major tasks. If you have to
fill a jar with rocks and pebbles, you achieve
more by placing the rocks first and letting the
pebbles fill the gaps around the rocks. If you
put the pebbles first then there is not enough
room to put the rocks. Likewise, in task
manager plan the rocks of your execution. Tasks
are visually managed in a Gantt chart. Each task
is executed with many smaller actions. Within the
task you can create a list of actions required to
execute. In the next section we will show how to
create a pull system for activities in
Achieve more by first placing the rocks. Dont
sort the pebbles
Think-Plan-Do framework separates the rocks from
the pebbles in execution. Achieve more by
focusing on what is important
Chapter 7
Focus on the right actions (Think-Plan-Do)
Activities are nugget sized actions that need to
be done to complete the major tasks. Separating
smaller actions from the Gantt chart makes
execution lean. Gantt chart is not cluttered by
many smaller actions making it easier to update
and maintain. It also helps to focus on the
important tactical goals without sorting through
a myriad of actions. A separate Current
Activities tool helps you visually manage all
important actions on an activity board. These are
presented as sticky notes
Execute the tactical plan with each nugget sized
action at the right time. Create a pull system of
current activities for each planned item in the
DO tier.
The reality of ongoing operations is that we are
constantly pulled into urgent fires to tackle.
Important activities are easy to get buried in
the whirl wind of daily distractions. Stephen
Covey says if you spend more time on the
important actions then the urgent would
disappear. Current Activities tool is the visual
dashboard of your important actions and keeps
them in front of you.
Chapter 8
Making accountability focus a habit
With Entroids, you spend less time in planning
and more on doing. It is important to establish
the discipline of using the tool appropriately.
Every day, each team member should review his
activity dashboard and update his sticky notes
appropriately. This takes 10 minutes or less but
is an invaluable reminder of the important
things. To create a habit, it helps to tie it to
a trigger. Create your trigger to review the
Activity dashboard once a day. For example, if
you drink coffee, let the first cup of coffee at
work trigger you to open the current activities
dashboard and review them. If you are not a
coffee drinker, tie it to any other established
habit that you do consistently. Have a team
meeting about once a week or any cadence that
applies to your product. In the meeting, as a
team, review and update Tier 1 project needs
(four pillars of execution in the Think tab on
Entroids.com) and the Major Tasks (Task manager
in the Plan tab on Entroids.com). Other things to
consider doing in the team meeting are reviewing
the reports, alerts and visual dashboards. Catch
cracks in your execution and make corrections. In
the risk and requirement dashboards, look for
high risk and important requirements items (top
right quadrant, in the visual dashboard) that do
not have planned tasks, see which item had most
momentum in your execution. In the milestone
tracker, see the required date and expected date
for each milestone and if the milestone is
expected to slip, explore its related tasks and
see what needs to be done to pull it up. In the
task manager, all tasks in the current period
should have activities, or else you are not
moving them forward.
With Entroids, you will spend less time in
planning and follow up. Visual tools and TPD
framework keeps important things in focus
automatically. It is extremely important to build
the discipline of using entroids in a systematic
About this e-Book Entroids way E-book explains
the philosophy of think-Plan-Do framework for
managing execution of NPD. Entroids is the best
way to manage if you use Stage Gate or Lean
Startup methodologies. It is created by
experienced product managers, in combination with
inspiration from thought leaders like Steve
Blank, Alex Osterwalder, Eric Reise, Stephen
Covey to name a few. The framework visually
links strategic project needs to tactical
planning and daily actions. This allows smart
diagnostics. This makes it easy to make changes
on the fly and minimize effort required in
managing programs and improve team communication
and accountability. Watch this video to learn more
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