Our client consulting engagements start with an assessment of the current situation, during which time we; develop a clear definition of the problem to be solved, gain an understanding of the environment and driving factors, and define the gap between actual and desired outcomes with identified root causes. We use our best practice framework to assess the Environment, Team, Product, and Schedule, because it provides an excellent baseline for a fast system.

We conduct anonymous surveys to gain a better understanding about how people inside the problem view the situation and articulate possible solution paths. These surveys are followed by 1:1 interviews with key people at both individual contributor and executive levels of the management hierarchy. We are typically engaged by executive leadership in Engineering, Manufacturing, and/or Marketing and frequently report our findings to CEO or COO levels, with whom we continue to report during the implementation phase of our work. When working with tech start-ups, our reporting relationship is with a board member or directly to the Board of Directors.

Training/Education vs Consulting, what do I need?

  • Our management consulting services are designed to solve the right-project/time problem and to help clients accelerate projects and deliver them on time or early. This is achieved through a multi-month partnership with our client in which lateralworks consultants become active members of the development effort.

  • On the other hand, the extended coaching program (provided through our educational offerings) are available to help clients structure “good schedules” and implement the Refresh Planning Process in order to change behavior on the team, such that the process “sticks.”

Problem we are trying to solve

Determining the right products to make, what customers want and value, and delivering them on time…

We reduce execution risk for clients and then teach them how to do it independently. Our management consulting services deliver projects that hit their optional market window. We work on advanced technology projects; from early stage start-ups to established multi-nationals. The practice was founded in 1988 and is based in Silicon Valley.

The ability to structure a problem and converge quickly to solve complex problems, in multi-variable environments, and during challenging times separates us from traditional solutions to the problem of fast time to market.

 

Our work with clients…

The essence of our work is to laterally link the pieces into an integrated system that you can use to accelerate and/or close the schedule gap. We know from experience on many fast projects that you have to accelerate just in order to finish on time. The trick is to get all the players to play the game and participate, this turns out to be the hard part.

why, what, how

Why The ability to execute quickly separates successful companies from failures. When you enter early, market share and margin are maximized. In the technology business, growth comes from new products that satisfy the customer. Innovation is the key to growth, be it in mature segments when taking share from competitors or in growing markets where time-to-market is the driver.

What We’re the external catalyst our client’s use to cause rapid change. We help clients accelerate the innovation cycle from concept to launch; getting the right products to market at the right time… dramatically improving profitability... from Sony's first Playstation to billion dollar semiconductor Fabs using advanced planning and decision-making methods.

How We rapidly structure the problem, converge on a solution, “action” to make it happen, and then transfer the necessary skills to our clients to enable continuous improvement using advanced methods and tools. We help clients accelerate projects by connecting organizational silos into lateral work systems; more. The consulting practice is fueled by our ongoing.


Scope of Services

 
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Causing projects to finish on time, or even making them faster is the “back-end” of the new product execution system. Deciding what projects to do, and then aligning them with business strategy and available resources is the “front-end.”

The effectiveness of the front-end of an integrated lateral system influences the chance of success at the back-end in terms of on-time delivery.

We help clients align Strategy with Execution in order to deliver new products quickly; the right products at the right time.

  • Prioritize product portfolios in order to select the right projects to meet business goals.

  • Balance resources (budget, risk, and resources) across project portfolios.

  • Determine the right feature set at the time of introduction, that the customer most values (i.e the minimum viable product spec).

  • Make rapid technical decisions and trade-offs in order to maintain a fast schedule.

  • Facilitate group consensus and participation, while not slowing down the project.

  • Macro-plan projects based on an aligned team mission and agreed-upon milestones with clear defined outcomes.

  • Identify critical schedule gaps from when a project is needed to when it realistically could be delivered, and then.

  • Close those schedule gaps through team participation and consensus-based problem solving.

  • Continually refresh and breakdown schedules so they can be pulled-in by team members through a weekly participative iterative planning technique.

  • Track project performance trends and forecast potential problems.

  • Provide early warning of problems while there is time to make corrections.

  • Finish on time with the right-product delivered to customers at the right-time.

  • Understand the cost of delay and use it to generate urgency and make trade-offs during the life of the project.

 

Team

We put together specialized teams of professionals to respond to client needs depending on the problem being solved. Consulting teams average 2-3 in size and can expand depending on the size of the engagement. We limit the number of concurrent client engagements in order to maximize our availability to clients. Through a careful process of high value project selection, we are able to manage our time effectively and never over commit available resources.

Partners

Neal Mitchell (founder) concentrates on business process re-engineering to achieve competitive advantage through faster cycle time. Specializes in NPD portfolio management, executive coaching & research into best practices of high performance teams/organizations. Co-founded technology start-up with successful exit, have worked on >200 FTTM Projects around the world, >30 years in technology new product development.

Mark Edmonds, Ph.D. (founder) focuses on large-scale multi-site technology program management, NPD portfolio management, and decision-modeling systems. Physics Ph.D., directed multiple +100 person technology projects that achieved world class cycle time performance, >20 years in advanced technology product development at Philips Research, Philips Semiconductor, National Semiconductor/Texas Instruments, and as a management consultant on > 50 projects.

Associates

Cheryl Beninga former marketing executive with Intel and Venture Capital investor (11 years, >40 companies); expertise in Product Marketing, Strategic Partnerships, and Venture Capital/Board-level experience.

Barbara D. Grant, Ph.D. Venture Capital investor; VC backed, start up CEO; and IBM executive experience provides a platform and a passion for engaging with and improving paths for early stage private companies.

Bob Biddinger (founder) works with executives to develop their skills & insights while providing an external sounding board for strategy and idea development. An active speaker, writer and lead researcher on our second best practice study. Early HP employee and Seagate founder.

James R. Schmook, Ph.D. Commander USN Retired, Independent management consultant specializing in strategy and executive coaching.

Alan E. Rush, Ph.D. Stanford University School of Business, specializing in Executive Coaching, FTTM, Fast Operating/Fast Strategy.