Thursday 3 February 2022

Implementation of ideas for future project development

What will you do if there is a Project opportunity that seems appropriate for your organization but doesn't fit into your Project model? It may be something strategically appealing, where potential opportunities are visible in the distance, but the implementation is not clear to you. It is from such situations that Project development begins.

Project development is a functional area of the company responsible for the identification and development of new Project areas. All of this requires a combination of new products, new markets and new distribution channels.

Project Development: What Is It?

Project development is about driving growth, mainly through the search for new partnerships, customer categories and lines of Project. It's like being a researcher looking for opportunities even before a map has been drawn.

Let's list the main stages of the Project development cycle with new partners:

  • search for new strategic relations;
  • exploring mutually beneficial opportunities;
  • development and signing of the initial agreement;
  • implementation of cooperation;
  • identification of the broader potential of this cooperation.

Let's say you have a restaurant and a new office building opens nearby. You can talk about Project development with the building management. You can provide the employees of the building with attractive discounts at lunchtime, organize food delivery to the office or perhaps the company's management is looking for a partner in organizing receptions for important meetings in this office building. The purpose of Project development is to find mutually beneficial relations between organizations.

Once the scope of activity is developed and the conditions are determined, the projects that have been launched for Project development are transferred to the various departments of the company for further development. For example, the design department is working on improving the product, the marketing department is developing new conditions to attract more customers in a cooperative environment, etc.

Project development aims to identify growth opportunities through partnerships, develop new relationships and develop long-term opportunities. In smaller organizations, these tasks are performed by the owner or founder of the company, but as the organization grows, it is often useful for them to have dedicated teams that are able to look beyond the horizon of future relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers.

Anything that is new, different, or uncertain, but that will ultimately lead to a sustainable Project, is at the heart of Project development. Let's say you're developing a weight loss app and your company sells that app to consumers. Your Project development team can explore partnerships with healthcare organizations that can offer the app to patients. Or with food companies that could print your app's QR code on their packaging. The idea is to find a way in which the app will help other Projects, and they, in turn, will help your Project.

Why do organizations need to grow their Project? Because almost all departments of the company (production, marketing, sales) are focused on working in the current conditions. They sell products with known prospects, sell them to established market segments, or refine their products for existing customers. Strategic teams plan for the future, but in an abstract way.

Let's say a shoe company wants to go into the bag Project. Initially, the Project development team will take a leading role in researching the competitors of handbags, establishing relationships with manufacturers and distributors, and then determine how this Project can work. They develop a plan that may include licensing, pricing, marketing, and sourcing.

Once the company is ready to incorporate handbag manufacturing into its Project, Project development retreats and the operating part of the company comes into play. The goal of Project development is to find new ways to expand the capabilities of the organization. Project development professionals review every part of a company's value chain to identify new opportunities and provide the organization with greater flexibility. This is achieved by building partnerships and exploring areas to deepen this cooperation.

Many people believe that Project development can be replaced by sales or sales development. Most often, this happens when sales are advisory in nature, that is, the seller has to spend a lot of time to determine the needs of the client and find the optimal solution. Whereas Project development is associated with uncertain and new growth opportunities.

Consider the difference between sales and Project development. Even if there is some advice, the size of the seller's role remains constant. The products and services it can offer are fixed and the remuneration plan is predetermined (Fig. 1). For example, a clothing retailer will start any meeting by asking you what you're looking for and what your goals are. What is your budget? Do you choose clothes for a special occasion? You want to replenish your wardrobe and so on. But the seller is limited to clothing and sells only to consumers, and their bonus and commission plan is defined.

But if you plan to open a pop up store (pop-up store) of prom clothes near schools or special clothes for a hotel chain, or add nail salons within the walls of a department store, then all this is already beyond the scope of the seller.

Since marketers have a tendency of strategic planning and are focused on the future, it is worth considering the difference between this direction and Project development. Marketing is all about understanding the markets, passing that information on to the rest of the organization, and then, given the corporate strategy, passing it on to potential customers. Everything that is done in marketing should be scalable and consistent. Project development goes beyond mass personalization, in fact, we are talking about interpersonal relationships.

Future development strategy as a general part of marketing and Project development

The third large group, which is often confused with Project development, is strategic planning. This is a team in organizations that thinks about the future of the organization and develops a financial plan for a new product and entry into new markets. But while strategic planning focuses on financial matters, Project development must be concerned with the uncertainty of how the Project can be implemented, and who, besides the organization, should be involved.

Project development faces many unexpected challenges and opportunities, often associated with the unique situation of any company. Project development is the missing link between creating an idea and turning it into a regular job.

There is now an increase in advisory sales and sales of solutions that are somewhat similar to Project development. Many large consulting firms have Project development people who can explore the possibility of adding a new line of Project. As part of their research, they conduct a customer survey to understand the needs of the market. In many cases, these meetings lead to short-term Project, although this is not the main goal.

For example, when hotels offer car rental. In these cases, the Project developer doesn't actually sell, but supports and encourages both their company and the partner company to join the alliance. Growing a Project in tech companies often means learning new technologies and how to apply them in the future.

So why are there so many different types of Project development? Because growing a Project really means going beyond Project as usual to identify new ways to grow it. And different organizations have different growth strategies: alliances, new technologies, trading partnerships, and so on. It is important to understand the scope of any particular organization.

Essential skills in Project development

It may seem that every organization should have a team dedicated to defining and evaluating long-term strategic goals, but this is not always practical. Some experts recommend investing in Project development when the income reaches a certain value, from about 2 to 40 million dollars. Others suggest that you need to focus on the number of employees.

If you are starting a new Project, then it makes sense to focus on its development within the existing framework, rather than looking for a new Project. Your company is still trying to build infrastructure and processes.

In many cases, the owner of the company is a natural developer of the Project, always thinking about what will happen next, and seeking mutual cooperation with everyone with whom he comes into contact. Hiring employees for Project development usually occurs after the core Project is thriving, processes are established, and unformed but interesting ideas about growth begin to appear among the company's management.

Who are these people working in Project development? Such people are very curious and love to explore new directions. Each new Project development transaction brings a person back to the very beginning of the learning curve. This means that it takes a lot of homework, reading industry materials, attending conferences, and even attending classes. They are extroverts, love to communicate with people and explore different variants of the same process. Project development people are always looking for opportunities, and new contacts bring new opportunities and new ideas.

Project Development Staff

They must be able to quantify the benefits, have analytical and research skills. Ultimately, they have to make deals. But unlike sellers, they are not aimed at quickly implementing the transaction, as it is more effective to spend more time on exploration.

Is it possible to learn the skills of Project development or are they innate human abilities? Of course, there are ways to optimize Project development skills and it's best to start by teaching the right questions. In any conversation with future partners about Project development, the first task is to understand all the needs and desires of each party. You have to learn to ask a lot of questions. What are their Project goals? What are their difficulties? Why did they accept the invitation to the meeting? What is the usefulness of cooperation for their company? Learning to delve into other people's goals without trying to achieve them is a skill that can be learned.

Another skill that can be developed is the search for additional sources of value. You don't know what another person really cares about besides money unless you ask them. They may be more interested in advertising or be associated with new initiatives. Knowing their interests, which you can only ask about, allows you to match these interests with your own and identify win-win opportunities.

Just as some people are born to sell, there are people with an entrepreneurial spirit who see opportunities whereas others don't notice them. It is such people who are useful in Project development.

Management of the team and processes for Project development

At any stage of your Project, you may have both existing partnerships to grow it and unexplored opportunities for your team. The Project development manager and his team should work together to define and achieve quarterly and annual goals. Tasks are often so long-term that further action is not obvious, and it can be difficult to

figure out how to prioritize.

For Project development, it is important to balance your time between internal (identifying opportunities, potential partners) and external (meetings with partners, exhibitions) activities.

If you're thinking about goals for the upcoming quarter or year, then it's worth starting with your team's regular meetings, where everyone can focus on the team's overall tasks before reviewing their lists of potential partners or their categories. So it will be easier to determine which actions will bring a greater result, and which will be ineffective.

In Project development, it can be very difficult to measure performance in an objective way. The further the employee's role moves away from sales, the more difficult it is to determine short-term indicators. The real value of Project development in the long run.

So, the employee begins his work by studying the incoming data until enough time has passed so that he has the initial data to measure. Initial indicators can be the number of companies he has approached or the number of meetings he has held. This is incoming data. That is, it is about how much effort he puts into the role, and not about the results of these efforts.

For example, a bank may ask its Project development specialists to hold at least 100 meetings with potential partners within one year. They don't have clear expectations about the outcome of these meetings, but they want a Project development specialist to expand their list of potential partners and start building all kinds of relationships. The bank knows that the best way to get good results is to make an effort in advance.

Other incoming data can be the number of opportunities identified and provided for the organization. For example, if a bank wants to explore the possibility of establishing branches or ATMs within hospitals, then the effectiveness of a Project development officer can be determined by the number of studies conducted or the types of analysis conducted. How many proposals for cooperation did the employee provide? How many of these proposals have been approved? How many proposals are approved for testing? How many of them are becoming new lines of Project for the company? How important are these new lines of Project in terms of revenue?

Regardless of the goals set, it is important for the Project development team to set expectations in advance and adjust them based on new information. Let's say a Project development professional tries to make one big deal with a hospital, but the initial test identifies new problems that need to be addressed before expanding the program. A Project development professional should let management know in advance and help them understand how this change happened and what it means for the company.

It may not yet be clear if the new branches will be profitable, or if other hospitals need to see results before they want to invest in ATMs or in-house branches. Any test or trial run provides new information and it is very important that this information appears and is distributed before the main launch of the program. Although the raw data is a good leading indicator, but for long-term success, the goal is to create value for the company.

Let's return to the main stages of Project development with new partners, which we considered earlier. Namely: the creation of new strategic relations, the study of mutually beneficial opportunities, the development and signing of the initial agreement, the implementation of cooperation and the identification of a wider potential from this cooperation.

If you're starting from scratch, your initial goal as a Project development partner is to identify new strategic relationships in your area of responsibility. Finding a company that is interested in talking to you and exploring opportunities can take some time. In the early stages of your job, most of your time can be spent communicating, researching companies in your field that can become good partners, and studying their activities. You're looking for companies that can benefit from what you have.

There are many ways to identify a possible future partner. Maybe you're selling to the same customers and you can sell goods to each other. Think about how airlines, hotels, and car rental companies work together. Either one of you has a platform, market, store, or product implementation mechanism, and the other has a company that can use that platform. Or one of you may have a product or technology that will be useful to the other.

Once you've found an interested potential partner, the next step is to explore opportunities that will benefit you and the other party. You already have ideas and now is the time to implement them. Therefore, try to find answers to the following questions:

  • What would a partnership look like?
  • What's the opportunity for them and for you?
  • How much will it cost to test this feature?
  • Who else should participate in the project?
  • What should the result look like?

Next, it is necessary to draw up a contract in writing. This early document is sometimes referred to as a letter of intent, which clearly outlines the objectives of each party. Once you have this document, you can invite attorneys to include all the legal points. You do this for several reasons. First, because you need a contract that clearly states the obligations of each of the parties. And secondly, because the very process of drafting it ensures that both parties have the same expectations.

The next step is to implement your partnership through a small, supervised test. It can be challenging to motivate people on both sides to have a practice test. For example, sellers don't want to distract their best customers with a new offer from another company. Therefore, you need to create a task force and ideally, make your project a priority that is part of their job description and purpose.

In addition to this material, we recommend reading our article "Project Management". Full course of 8 parts".

In growing a Project, it's always important what happens next, and you need to know what your next goal is, what it takes to succeed, and how you plan to do it.


It doesn't matter if you're starting your career in Project development or building a team, what you're doing now will determine the value you derive from that material. Join associations, attend conferences, chat with friends and former colleagues. You never know where a great new idea will be born.

Start building relationships. Let your curiosity be your guide. You'll be amazed at the ideas you offer and the partnerships you create.

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