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Delivering a New Product “Under the Gun”

The Problem

This company was a leader in its field and wanted to expand the product line to its client base. While the concept of the new product was clear, the infrastructure was yet to be thought through. Then, Sales sold its first contract for the new product, with projected annual revenue of $500,000. That was great, but delivery was due within 90 days. The big question now was – how would they deliver it without losing their shirts?

Another factor was also critical to success – the tight client community, where company performance becomes known quickly. Falling-down on this contract could taint the reputation of the company’s other well-established products.

The Solution

When there’s a tight deadline staring you in the face, it’s very tempting to jump into the deep end of design and delivery before truly understanding what’s needed and why. It’s one of those “Catch-22s” – if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, what makes you think you’ll have time to fix it?

My first step was to understand the full scope of what was needed by all key stakeholders, and do it quickly: senior management, the company’s client, and the company’s operations and technical staff.

The solution needed to be a repeatable process for future sales, keeping costs down and quality consistent. That meant all key departments needed to contribute to design and implementation efforts. I formed and led a cross-functional team to modify current practices and create new systems and tools that could be used repeatedly.

The Result

My client’s tight deadline was met with a solid product. The framework supported significant growth (with few modifications) over the next several years. What’s more, the company’s reputation was significantly enhanced with this new product among its offerings.

The company President said: “Carolyn’s leadership was instrumental in the success of this product. Not only did it become a “cash cow” after several years, the team she put in place handled every job that came down the pike.”

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