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These days, every other person is a budding entrepreneur trying to build a product that will revolutionize an industry. But why do so many of these ‘next big things’ fail? Be it an established company or an individual, every product starts as an idea. However, for the idea to turn into a successful product, the product management function is of utmost importance for the product to succeed.
Every product goes through an elaborate and exhaustive process. Broadly defined, the steps involved are - creating a product roadmap, scoping stakeholder requirements, designing the product, working with the engineers and quality assurance teams, and finally, managing the lifecycle in itself. Throughout this process, there are a number of things that can cause a product to fail. Listed below are five such reasons:
1.Product roadmap – It is important that every idea has a roadmap to define its path to create a successful product. However, sales targets are often the driving force and that is not necessarily effective product management as those involved in product production lack motivation since their role is limited to implementation. Moreover, following the roadmap itself costs the company time and money, and often the questions it was meant to answer, namely, ‘How much will this cost?’ and ‘How much revenue will this create?’ fail to be answered in the pursuit of meeting sales targets.
2.Research & Testing – Often, in an attempt to get the product out in the market at the earliest, companies roll it out without sufficient research or testing. This could prove disastrous for the product and could even damage the brand. Firstly, research on every front must be thorough, to ensure the customer’s needs are actually being met. Secondly, reliability testing should be conducted before the product is rolled out, to ensure that the product works.
3.Timing decisions - By following the traditional thought-processes involved in product planning, the designers and engineers are often brought in during the later stages of the product development However, their value is often underutilized in such cases. Bringing them in earlier would result in innovative ideas that can help create the best version of the product.
4.Prolonged Development - Sometimes, companies get caught up in product creation, leading to a delayed entry into the market. This delay could prove costly sometimes as customer needs might have changed, a competitor could have released their version of the product, the economy could have taken a downturn or market segments may have evolved.
5.Demand-Production Mismatch - Some products are so revolutionary that they are received by the public, far better than the company predicted. This is great, but causes issues sometimes as production may not be able to meet the unexpected demand, leading to loss of customers and eventually, the death of the product.
‘Failure is a great teacher’ – Successful product management, however, involves learning from the mistakes of others, as illustrated above, instead of making your own.