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What are your biggest risks in Product Development?

By Agile Velocity | Oct 01, 2014 |  Article

Play Product Madness - Risks in Product DevelopmentWe asked Product Managers, Business Analysts, and Project Managers to identify their most challenging product development risks.  See how these three professional groups ranked the risks.

Business Analysts:  Risks in Product Development

1. Product incompletely addresses the needs of targeted users
2. The design of the product is inherently flawed
3. The product is not differentiated from alternative solutions
4. Product launch is delayed, delaying revenue
5. The product did not solve enough problems, or solve them sufficiently

Product Managers:  Risks in Product Development

1. The buyer does not perceive that the product provides enough value
2. Product incompletely addresses the needs of targeted users
3. The design of the product is inherently flawed
4. Customers are unwilling or unable to pay for the product
5. The product did not solve enough problems, or solve them sufficiently

Project Managers:  Risks in Product Development

1. Our team does not know how to sell into this market
2. Product does not incorporate the context of usage into design / features
3. Product does not account for user’s learning curve or level of expertise
4. The product’s features are not aligned with the customer’s competitive strategy
5. Our market selection is not aligned with the rest of our strategy

Conclusion of the Results

Even though the top five product development risks differed between the experts, there was a common theme around user experience.

Business analysts and product managers agree that two of the top three risks include design flaws, design not fulfilling needs of customers and the customer’s problems were not solved through the product.  The Standish Report says that 64% of product features are rarely or never used. There’s a huge cost given the time that goes into shipping and maintaining those features. In addition to this cost, there’s the missed opportunity of delighting the customers with otherwise valuable features.

Project managers were drawn to risks involving how the user will interact with the product. Given an ever increasing competitive market, it is crucial companies take the time to analyze how the user will use the product. If products aren’t designed in a way that is intuitive to the customer, the competition may outperform.
Here are some recommended tools that have helped attune many companies to their customers.

  • Product Owner’s Guide: Keys to Product Planning
    This guide is a “cheat sheet” for product owners outlining steps to product planning success. Easy-to-use templates are included to create a product vision, definite customer personas, and more.
  • Story Mapping
    Story mapping helps the team understand the workflow, see the relationship of larger stories to “child” stories, know how to validate when a story is complete, and gives a context for prioritization.

What tools have you successfully used to be more in tune with customers?

Contact us about onsite coaching for help implementing any of these ideas.

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