Optimal Product Process™ 3.0 Phase Two: Plan

This post describes the second phase in the Optimal Product Process: Plan. Download the entire Optimal Product Process E-Book 3.0: CLICK HERE

During the plan phase, product managers conduct more detailed and specific market research, along with competitive analysis to determine whether the opportunity is large and profitable enough to be viable.

After having come up with a prioritized list of opportunities (ideally that leverage your company’s core competencies and put them in a unique position to compete), additional time and effort can then be spent doing some true planning. For example, market research and competitive analysis can be performed. A business case can be developed in a standardized fashion. This can then be evaluated against other projects accordingly to determine if the opportunity is large and profitable enough to be viable. Market needs (we prefer to use this term rather than market requirements because it more accurately states what is being captured) can be assessed, along with the market strategy that would be used to take the product to market. A roadmap can be developed giving an idea of the longer-term strategy and viability along with a product description (again we use this term rather than product requirements because it more accurately reflects the fact that you are describing how the product will meet the market need).

Clearing the confusion

The issue with the word requirement is that it can be used in both the problem and solution space. If your company uses the term requirement, use either customer/market requirement or product requirement.

Not so fast!

Many companies make the mistake of jumping straight into development, particularly when working with teams employing Agile methodologies, without performing due diligence on the business and strategy aspects of the product first. The Optimal Product Process allows for doing the business and strategy work whether your company is doing Agile, Waterfall or hybrid development. The plan phase ensures that ALL critical questions about strategy and business are addressed regardless of how the product is being developed.
Chart describing problem and solution

Plan for success with a roadmap

Products evolve over time. Document planned changes for product strategy, directions and features in a product roadmap. This will be critical in getting management buy-in, project funding and customers who will agree to purchase the product ahead of production. It will show what you’ll deliver, when and how the product features will support your strategy and achieve your long-term vision. Product roadmaps are a core deliverable for product managers.

Overview of the Plan Phase

Key Tasks

Create market and product strategy, and a corresponding roadmap. Product Management completes the business plan and market needs documents. Product Marketing completes the market strategy document. Engineering completes the product description document.

Key Deliverables

Business plan, market needs document, product description document, market strategy document and roadmaps.

Core Skills

Market research, competitive analysis, voice of the customer, personas, segmentation, positioning, pricing and forecasting.

Decision at The Gate

The company agrees to fund actual product development.

Download The Optimal Product Process E-Book 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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