This post describes the second phase in the Optimal Product Process: Plan. Download the entire Optimal Product Process 2.0 book: CLICK HERE
“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.”
Planning Is Where Most Companies Implement a Rush to Failure Approach
They are so excited about the ideas that they forge ahead with development without having thought through many of the critical questions that should be answered before investing and starting any development work. For example, what is the market strategy that will ensure the product can win in the market? What does a deep dive on the competition really look like? This should include an estimate of where they will be when your product finally launches and what your strategy is to win at that time. What are the launch activities and budget realistically going to be? Many companies spend huge amounts of money creating products only to then get to launch and find that they drastically underestimated what a real launch would cost in order for them to win the market.
To avoid the rush to failure, after having come up with a prioritized list of opportunities (ideally that leverage the company’s core competencies and put them in a unique position to compete), additional time and effort should 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).
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 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.
The result of good planning should be that you have a well-thought-out product and strategy that is so solid you would be willing to bet your life savings that it will succeed. And you should be thinking this way, because if the product fails it may be your career and reputation that suffer.