Seven Cycles R&D Five Year Plan

September 2, 2013

in Bike Design, Business Thinking, Seven Cycles

Most planning work I do entails five year plans.  I got to spend some time today working on the R&D plan for Seven Cycles.  It’s ambitious.  And each plan is intertwined with all the others – sales, marketing, G&A, OB, etc. – so there’s never anything simple.  I often go to R&D as an anchor because, for me, it sets the foundation for most other planning at Seven.

Here’s one of the boards I worked on today.  I do like my post-its.

R&D 2014 Draft 1.3 Seven Cycles full tilt

As is typical, the challenge isn’t in deciding what to do, it’s deciding what not to do.  The list always gets longer; it never seems to get shorter.

We’ve already got most of the 2014 product line completed or well underway.  We’re looking at making a few adjustments based on some of the craziness that’s going on in the industry right now.  But, our last two five year plans have proved to be fairly well on track for what we thought would happen.

I’ve also got a set of thoughts to present to the team for the 2015 season.  Beyond two years out the planning process is more like orienteering and proving concepts, so most people don’t like to have discussions about this.  Regardless, five year planning informs what we’re going to do five days from now.  It’s paid off again and again.

One shift I’ve noticed in the past few years is that Seven doesn’t work in annual R&D plans anymore.  We work in release dates that have nothing to do with the tradeshows.  Overall, this has been a great change, in part because we’re able to level out the R&D schedule a bit.

Seven’s 2014 five-year R&D plan is really exciting.  We’ve just hired someone – that starts tomorrow – that will be helping me accelerate the execution of Seven’s R&D plan for 2014 and beyond.

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