Shifting Goal Posts

Description Shifting Goal Posts occurs mostly in me-too+ or product extension R&D. This happens when the commercial or marketing organization is driving product design. Customers are demanding X! So we build towards X. No, the competitor is building towards X so we need to build towards Y. So we build towards Y. No, Y is not differentiated enough from X. So we build towards Z.
Weaknesses From the point of effectiveness, it wastes all the efforts originally put into development of products X and Y (above). And it builds doubt and a timorous attitude in the researchers as they work towards Z. What comes after Z? Maybe we should wait or slow down just to be sure that Z is indeed the real target?
Appropriate Uses

This is merely the transom issue (as in throw it over the transom+) extended into commercial. Commercial and R&D for new product development need to be merged (as equal partners) into a single effort that explores the capabilities of the technology and changing customer behaviors simultaneously.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the ideal solution, rarely realized, is to develop a professional position of the researcher-brand manager. This is an individual who has come up from the bench or the research arena, has managed a commercial brand, and is now a solid mid-career performer who stands astride the two disciplines (and modes of thinking).


Further Reading