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My previous post in this series described a method for making data-driven product decisions. But the planning process doesn't stop once those decisions are signed off. In fact, it may be just the beginning. There are a couple of reasons for this:
And so, the fifth and final ingredient in our recipe is: Make the innovation process iterative.
Let's take a closer look at the two enabling situations.
Development organizations are turning to methodologies such as agile to refine product features, performance and usability based on actual usage. But development is not the only group with a stake in customer feedback. Planners, product and portfolio managers, and executives also need to stay abreast of customer reactions.
Close analysis of those reactions often shows that the market needs something a little different than was indicated by the original research data. So it's essential that senior management and planners participate in follow-up review of customer feedback, adjust the process data accordingly, and reassess their earlier decisions.
On the second point, let's just say that when you least expect it, stuff happens.
To illustrate, one of our clients — a provider of enterprise software — created a roadmap that prioritized the financial industry over manufacturing and telecommunications. Then came the autumn of 2008 and the pipeline ran dry.
Within a matter of hours, planners and executives re-prioritized their target vertical markets. They reallocated resources to accommodate the new priorities, focused on a new set of tier-1 customers, and geared up to respond to different competitors.
Without an iterative process already in place, that same exercise would have taken weeks or possibly even months to complete.
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher and innovator, said, "Nothing endures but change." True enough. But managing change and making in-flight adjustments can mean the difference between offering a so-so product and offering one that provides extraordinary value.