The life expectancy of products LO21898

Scott Simmerman (
Fri, 11 Jun 1999 15:24:09 -0400

Replying to LO21874 --

Steven Swan asked about sustaining energies and efforts. I expect this
one to generate some comments around programs versus processes and the
like -- heck, even the thread's title is about "products."

Looking back over lots of different organizations and improvement efforts
over the years, it seems that the most important issue is the visible
active involvement and utilization of an approach by the most senior
managers. It is not about product design and program implementation so
much as it is about practicality and cost / benefit of use.

GE and Jack Welch come immediately to mind -- he has been so consistent in
his approach that it shows in the way the entire organization approaches
issues and opportunities. Same with Emerson Electric, Microsoft (maybe
that is a bad choice based on PC considerations at the moment!) and lots
of other firms that have had consistency at the top in the overall

It seems a lot harder to get this sustainment when senior managers keep
changing. Witness Apple as a most recent example.

Steven said:

>Background: At one time an organization could expect materials to be valid
>for 3 -5 years. I have heard it is more like 6 months now.

ALL the cycles have sped up in business, I suppose. But sustainment seems
more tied to actual value to the organization and its leadership than to
any other single factor.

My little organization has had the same values for a long while and have
stayed a pretty consistent course in regards to our culture and processes,
and sustained our product for more than 6 years.

But then it is just my wife and I and all we've done is gotten older,


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