New Product Development Certification

After a week-long boot-camp, I took and passed the “New Product Development Professional (NPDP)” certification exam today. Woohoo!

I highly recommend this to designers out there looking to gain influence in their organization or with clients. Theres only about 800 NPDP’s today, but I expect to see this take off.

Thanks for the heads up CG. I hadn’t heard of this before!

Thanks CG. What a great idea from PDMA (haven’t gone to their meetings lately :blush: ) Was the test difficult? I looked at the 20 sample questions they provide and while wordy, weren’t that hard. The difficulty I can see is that there may be a level of subjectivity relative to industry and organization? I guess as long as the focus is on “best practices.” Regardless, I’ll have to look into this.

It’s tough–only 60% pass. PDMA’s reading list for the exam prep is ~20 books long! There are 200 multiple choice questions in the following categories:

  • NPD Strategy
  • NPD Process
  • NPD Portfolio Management
  • NPD Team, Organization and People
  • NPD Market Research
  • NPD Tools and Metrics

30 of us took our training through NPLearning, and they boast a 95% pass rate–100% for the specific week-long on-site boot-camp course we took. The best part is that my colleagues and I will all be on the same page when it comes to NPD process best-practices.

pardon my naiveté, but i’ve never heard of PDMA. What is supposed to be the value in this “certificate” if (I assume) hardly people in the industry have heard of yet, let alone those you are trying to influence in business, management, marketing, etc?

for less cost, I’d be happy to make you an official looking “Design Excellence in Management and Global Business Success” certificate from the Association of Designers in Industry Association… (yes, i made that all up) :wink:

I did look briefly at the website, but couldn’t really find anything pointing to industry accolades, etc. All the “Alliance Members” I’ve never heard of either (maybe it’s just me).

I dunno why, but seems a bit scammy to me. (the google links on the page don’t help + the vague sounding name…).


What is supposed to be the value in this “certificate” if (I assume) hardly people in the industry have heard of yet, let alone those you are trying to influence in business, management, marketing, etc?

Hmm, sounds a lot like Industrial Design don’t you think???

Well anyway, I work at a Fortune 20 company, and we’re putting more and more people through this training, so take that for what it’s worth.

I do know they’ve got more members than IDSA, and in 50 years less time, which makes sense given the newness of the subject. The type of members is diverse–made up of Marketers, Engineers, PMP’s and Designers.

I first learned of them when doing research on setting up a Fuzzy Front End/Innovation process. Their “PDMA Toolbook” series was a unique and invaluable source of best-practices I couldn’t find anywhere else.

PDMA is definitely for the type of people who like Harvard Case Studies on Product development, or read Robert Cooper, Clayton Christensen, Geoffrey Moore, Steven Wheelwright etc. If you’re not into that stuff, then it makes sense that you haven’t run into PDMA.

…And where did I first hear about Robert Cooper? From Walter Herbst during an IDSA event describing HLB’s development process!

OK, fair enough.

i’m aware of some of the books/people you mention, but not all, and certainly perhaps not into the research end of PD as much, so ya, as mentioned, am naive in this area. thanks for the clarification. I’ll check out some of the other sources you mention.

a few questions - how do you see this area of PD research fitting with the traditional ID methods?

That is, Given that there are so few NPDs vs. “regular” designers, and people like myself (i’d like to think i’m a pretty involved/aware design guy) might not even be aware of it, is this something that should have more recognition/practice or just some super small niche only perhaps relevant to those Fortune 20 companies as you mention? I’m big on strategy/research and procedural methods, but some of this kind of thing has always struck me a a bit academic/useless in real life… thoughts?

(…off to google to check it out).



the PDMA is about the best industry association for learning and networking with other disciplines involved with product development.

It is not a “designer” organization, but generally has a good mix of all product development professionals including marketing, project management, product managers, engineering, etc.

Their various meetings, seminars, conferences are the absolute industry best for networking and new business development for small companies like mine.

There is an Ontario chapter.

They fit and augment by covering all aspects of product development. Traditionally Industrial Designers only play a role in this process.

The key benefit is that we don’t want to waste time working on doomed products! NPD training will teach you how to recognize and correct flaws in strategy, process, portfolio, research, teamwork and tools. Plus your criticisms/advice will be better received if those people have also been trained in the same practices.

Sounds interesting, thanks for the heads up CG. Looks like there’s a Cincinnati chapter.

Thanks for the info on this cg, I checked out the website and i’m certainly interested. I didn’t see much about the costs involved, can you share any info on that? Thanks.

What I like about this more than IDSA or other ID specific groups is that it is where I think the emphasis of Design needs to be…on the multi-disciplinary needs of any product development. Getting the groups to work WITH each other and respecting each other’s disciplines.

I have seen, all too often, corporate pissing matches coming from the silos created from a core team environment. Schedules are reduced, budgets beaten, and more functionality gets added to a product with the right planning and true teamwork.

I will definitely be looking into this before I invest in IDSA.