The Growth Curve Theory

How you react to product development challenges will ultimately determine the long-term benefits

The Growth Curve Theory: How you react to product development challenges will ultimately determine the long-term benefits you will realize

I recently attended a seminar by James Newton (Newton Learning Corporation). He discussed the “J” curve or growth curve and how it affects almost any process. Essentially, the theory is that at any given time (Time = 0), for the best long-term results, you must be willing to accept some short-term sacrifice and loss. For example, if you’re developing new products, you might spend more time and money on up front on development than you would like (short-term sacrifice), but the reward in the long term will be a better product and more growth. Of course, then the reverse must also be true. If you push the engineering phase of a product too quickly, you might get to market first and get some sales quickly but the product will not be designed for optimal long-term growth.

I find the theory fascinating since on a daily basis at RSP I am intimately involved in the development of our customers’ new products.

In this role, a big part of my job is managing customer expectations on the time it takes to progress from each phase of a project to the next. I try to break a project down into phases and milestones for the customer and my team so that both groups see that we are making incremental progress. However, since we are involved in developing custom products, there are always some unexpected items that arise. It is during these periods of issue resolution that the customer will choose to either push through the dilemma quickly and instruct me to proceed at all costs, or step back and realize that taking some extra time will ultimately lead to a better product. This decision happens by working together.

In essence, this theory applies to every workday and at any business.

The results discussed during the seminar seem to highly correlate with my real-life observations. When we push through issues quickly and maximize our short-term benefits, the design or product always seems to suffer in the long run.

Our job at RSP is to communicate clearly with the customer, to try to interpret and convey the results that we anticipate, and to minimize the dip in the growth curve (i.e., to reduce the short-term sacrifice that is also known as pain and suffering) realized by the customer during this initial time period.

Here at RSP, let us help you create not only the product you’re your looking for, but the long-term results.

Mike Ryan, RSP CEO