In this blog post, i am specifically focusing on the importance of monitoring plan in ‘New Product Development’
While conceptualizing new product, we always make assumptions based on both quantitative and qualitative analysis on the following
- Total addressable market and growth rate
- Customer value proposition and differentiation
- Competitive analysis
The monitoring plan is to constantly revisit the above items and ensure they are intact by trying to figure out the answers for the following queries
- Is it still a growing market – Any socio-economic/ regulatory or any other macro factors has stalled the growth
- Is customer preferences still the same
- Is competition launching better product(s) ahead of us or planning for new product launch.
Keep a tab on macro factors
Product development is a long term process and it would be insane on the part of Product Manager to assume that none of the macro factors impacting the product (either directly or indirectly) changes during the phase of product development. So evaluating the macro factors constantly is a MUST. In case of pure-academic talk, I am referring something similar to PEST analysis but focusing on other relevant parameters such as ‘R’egulatory, ‘E’nvironment etc. Product Manager has to periodically assess all the macro factors and diligently ascertain the impact of any of those changes on the success of new product.
Here I am focusing on the factors that we don’t control either directly or indirectly but it impacts how our products are built or received in the market. So it only makes sense to keep watch on them and ensure that our assumptions are still valid. Any changes require conscious effort to relook at the entire product development plan.
Oh….PMs get emotionally attached to the new product, can they?
The success of this phase lies in the ability of the Product Managers to take rationale decisions based on the outcome of the monitoring phase analysis. But often Product Manager gets emotionally attached to the new product and it would be tough to take some extreme measures like killing the product even before the launch. For instance, a new regulation makes the product unlikely to sell after couple of years. In such case, if the decision is to kill the product because building the product for couple of years is not viable financially, then Product Manager have to promptly take the call and derive a product exit strategy. New product development is always exciting, while Product Managers have to be passionate about building products they should not get emotionally attached to it.
If you wondering about the monitoring plan to track the development schedule, development cost etc, those items will be monitored by the Program Manager during product development phase while plan will be outlined in the product planning phase. I will talk about the product planning in my subsequent blog post.
Final Word: Excitement of new product development should not steer the Product Manager away from ground realities and when macro factors do change there should be conscious effort to introspect whether new product will succeed.