A common root cause of a failed portfolio system is that the fuzzy-front-end is an unmanaged process in most companies. It just happens in an ad-hoc way, with multiple stakeholders trying to influence it in their direction (i.e. the classic engineering versus marketing conflict). With no single point of leadership.
At the end of the day, new product development teams see the collective inefficiencies of this poorly managed process when they have too many projects, not enough time, and half the resources they need to be effective. The result is late products or the wrong products.
No one is accountable since no one owns the process. Profitability suffers and executive management looks to "market forces" or "strong competitive factors" to blame, but in many cases the problem start closer to home!
We’ve developed a diagnostic assessment tool to evaluate current "portfolio systems." By this I mean the process management teams use to determine which new products make it into the product development pipeline and which get killed.
The illustration above lists a few top level questions we ask clients in order to gain an understanding of the system they use to manage their new product portfolio. This list is evolving over time with ongoing use and refinement. Suggestions welcome.
Regarding root cause analysis...
This is a drill-down of the REAL root causes for failure in the Portfolio process. This level of dill-down can also apply to RTTM strategyas well as understanding customer requirements. And, I think, to timely new product releases.
If you roll these root causes up to the next level you get broader statements of cause. But, the real root causes are the issues that need to be grappled with and prevented in order to make the whole process work. Planes go down because of a detailed (root cause) problem such as a loose/faulty screw. For example, portfolios don't work because of a mis-allocation of a single resource, etc.