Optimal Product Process™ 3.0 Phase One: Conceive

This post describes the first phase in the Optimal Product Process: Conceive. Download the entire Optimal Product Process Ebook 3.0: CLICK HERE

Generating New Ideas

During the Conceive phase a company or team is generating new ideas and evaluating and prioritizing them to determine whether to move forward and spend time and resources. This may be done formally or accidentally through observing customers and identifying latent needs. It may also be done by executives, engineers, Product Managers, salespeople or others coming up with potential products and/or new features — even customers may propose new ideas.

In startups this is usually done by the founders, in technology companies by the engineers and in truly market-driven companies by the Product Management and Product Marketing staff. In all cases Product Management and Product Marketing can play a KEY role in this phase – they aren’t necessarily responsible for coming up with creative new ideas (though they should articulate the needs of the customers and the problems that can be solved), but they should be held accountable for leading their teams in the effort.

What if you have more than one great idea?

In an ideal world, only one idea would move to the plan phase. If you have more than one great idea, more work needs to be done to decide which idea(s) to proceed with. To do this, rank or prioritize each idea against the others. One way to rank them is to look at the company’s core competencies. A great opportunity and fit for one company may not be worth the time and effort for another.

Key Difference

One key difference between companies that do the conceive process well and ones where success is more hit and miss is whether the work of observing customers and identifying currently unmet (latent) needs is intentional or accidental. The best companies spend a lot of time and effort on researching and observing customers to make sure what’s created has value.

By applying ideation exercises and using prioritization techniques, product managers can lead the company to identify and focus on new and innovative ideas that can become the engine for future company growth and success.

optimal product process ideal for agile and waterfall methodologies

Overview of the Conceive Phase

Key Tasks

Discover product opportunities, validate product-market fit, develop preliminary strategic documents listed in key deliverables.

Key Deliverables

Preliminary versions of the business plan, market needs and market strategy documents.

Core Skills

Strategic analysis, market analysis, and prioritization.

Decision at the Gate

Will the company agree to provide the funding and resources to proceed to the plan phase and gain a deeper understanding of the key parameters of proceeding with the project?

Flip camcorder example of Four Actions Framework

Download The Optimal Product Process EBook 3.0

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This book describes the seven phases of the Optimal Product Process: Conceive, Plan, Develop, Qualify, Launch, Maximize and Retire. It also covers the roles, responsibilities, tasks and documents associated with each phase. The Optimal Product Process is built on the worldwide-standard Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) seven-phase framework. The seven-phase framework defines the Product Lifecycle’s seven phases and corresponding tasks that every product or service encounters from conceive to end-of-life.

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