Once you’ve got the green light from your boss, your innovation board or financer, it’s once again up to you to deliver the concept you’ve promised them.Depending on the nature of your new concept,in the next step you will deliver a prototype, a full business case or interested business or technology partners who will join the product development team.

Naturally, you will make a delivery plan. Working at one of the large corporations you will be obliged to follow some form of project management method, like Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE). It covers the management, control and organization of a project. It tells you what you have to do to manage your projects from start to finish. It describes in-depth every step in the project life cycle, so you know exactly which tasks to complete, when and how.

The assumption is that by applying control you will reach the planned goal on time, within budget and scope. Unfortunately, you can’t really call innovation a ‘controlled environment’. That’s why traditional project management, which puts its emphasis on heavy up-front planning, has a difficult match with innovation projects in a world which is moving faster and faster.In chapter eight of my new book ‘The InnovationExpedition’, which you can download at the top of this article, I present ‘rules’ of extreme project management.

I hope I can provoke you into rethinking your regular approach for innovation delivery with these 11 rules¹:

Rule 1: The management of creative people and processes calls for creative management processes.

Rule 2: The less the project manager knows about the technical issues of the project, the better.

Rule 3: What happens after the project is over is more important than what happens during the project.

Rule 4: A project plan developed without full participation of stakeholders is nothing more than one person’s fantasy.

Rule 5: The more time the project manager spends with the stakeholders, the better.

Rule 6: If you haven’t defined project success at the start, you’ll never achieve it at the end.

Rule 7: Show them the money – nothing else matters.

Rule 8: Your project stakeholders can be your best allies or your worst enemies – you decide.

Rule 9: If you can’t predict the future, don’t plan it in detail.

Rule 10:If your project has not changed, be afraid – be very afraid.

Rule 11: In e-projects, a day is a lot of time.

I hope when you read this, your mind will be open to an extreme change in some of your ‘regular procedures’ for realizing your innovative concepts.

By Gijs van Wulfen

Interested in the previous chapters? Please click here

About the author

Gijs van Wulfen (The Netherlands, 1960) helps organizations to start innovation effectively as author, speaker and facilitator. He is the founder of the FORTH innovation method. With FORTH he create attractive innovative products and services with great internal support with a multidisciplinary team. In his latest book ‘The Innovation Expedition’ he makes innovation very accessible by telling the story in a visual way. His clients are international companies in industry and services, as well as non-profit organizations. Gijs also trains and certifies facilitators in his method. Gijs is a keynote speaker at international innovation conferences and was chosen by LinkedIn as one of their 150 Thought Leaders.



1. Catrine M. Jakobsen, XPM – from idea to realization, Synopsis, December, 2001

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