Building Enterprise Products

The primary emphasis for building a great product is to discover a right problem and getting married to it. However, customers’ needs and problems are increasingly becoming moving targets. The needs and problems evolve, so do the solutions to address them (i.e. the outcome too evolves) triggering an uncertainty of which needs or problems to address and what outcomes to deliver. The biggest mistake that Product Managers commit while building new product is to freeze needs and problems at a specific point in time and start building products for those static needs. Nevertheless, Enterprise products address hard problems and building such products consume around 12 – 24 months. With technology evolving much faster than ever, market dynamics changing too fast, and human race undergoing more changes than before, new needs or problems emerge, prevalent needs or problems extinct, and solutions embracing technology advancements to address needs or problems come in various shapes and forms. Primarily, Product Manager cannot taste success building a product for static needs. Product Manager should learn to hit a moving target anticipating how needs or problems change as a function of time in future.

 

Does n’t MVP and agile methodologies address those problems of dynamic needs?

Agile methodologies and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) address those fallacies by reducing development cycles and incrementally validating whether the product is addressing right needs or right problems and delivering right outcomes. MVP seldom works for enterprise products. The fundamental truth is enterprise products affect business in some form and hence they should be robust and resilient with zero-tolerance for failures while addressing a real business problem that is at the top of customers’ priority list. Therefore, delivering something quick, validating it and incrementally evolving the product does not augur well for enterprise products. Enterprise customers seek a complete solution. Even otherwise, addressing customers’ needs or problems as they evolve is not entirely possible without building a product architecture or a platform that can scale. I was once managing an HW product used by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) for defining policies of their internet users. During the launch of the product, internet speeds offered to each user was low. However, the internet speeds offered to each user raised exponentially in few years and the product could not meet the new requirement resulting in the early retirement of the product (or rather the product has to retire prematurely). In the enterprise segment, we tend to face a similar problem with complex SW products as well and refactoring the architecture can help but it will be costlier. Even so, refactoring the entire HW or product architecture takes time and there is a risk of not being able to address evolving needs or problems in a timely manner.

 

What is the right approach to building enterprise products that can scale and not retire early?

Product Manager should anticipate customers’ needs or problems as a function of time across the entire duration of the product lifecycle. Customer insights combined with extensive knowledge of how markets evolve, how technologies evolve, and how customers behaviors change should provide an estimation of how customers’ needs or problems change as a function of time and what new outcomes are possible.  As an industry, we have to restore the lost art of gathering customer insights. The eBook captures my experiences for addressing those challenges and providing structured guidelines for building great enterprise products that can scale for future needs. I have structured actionable plan for successfully building the new product that is

If you are experiencing similar challenges while building enterprise products, then I could bet this eBook should interest you and we could collaborate to make it better. The eBook captures my experiences for addressing those challenges and providing structured guidelines for building great enterprise products that can scale for future needs. I have structured actionable plan for successfully building the new product that is

  • Built on a foundation of strong product vision that defines the purpose and objective behind the new product.
  • Built to address real needs of real customers and as desired by those real customers.
  • Built not just for needs of today but also for needs of tomorrow and in alignment with the evolution of technology trends, market trends, and changing customer needs and their behaviors.
  • Built with all essential attributes that will drive customer preferences towards the new product.
  • Built through meticulous planning, impeccable execution, relentless attention to details, and zero-tolerance to mediocrity.

This eBook is definitely not for Product Managers who are not willing to be on the left, right and center of new product development and who say that their role is to provide directions for the new product with hardly any intention to get their hands dirty.

In this eBook, I touch upon every facet of new product development in addition to providing an overview of unique practices for building the new product like an integration of agile and waterfall methodology. I sincerely appreciate any feedback. If I can be of any assistance for you, please do not hesitate to reach me at murali.erraguntala@gmail.com

The eBook is now accompanied with ‘Product ROI excel sheet’ that simplifies measuring ROI of the new product and building a financial summary. Please download the excel from www.ProductGuy.in/The New Product – ROI.xlsx

The eBooks (.PDF and .PPT version) could be directly downloaded from SlideShare.

Please be aware that the book is still WIP (Work In Progress), I am still contemplating to create better frameworks. The efforts are eluding me for a long time, hope I will be lucky soon. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, please do not hesitate to reach me.