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New Product Planning Template

I spend a lot of time at the beginning stage of new product development gathering my thoughts and formulating a coherent strategy to move forward. Some time is spent looking for a template that I find is an acceptable framework to build a strategy. With each new product, I look for a new template as I’m never happy with any template I’ve used before – until now.

I’ve worked for established organizations with successful products yet I find the Startup Customer Discovery Process from Steve Blank (“The Startup Owner’s Manual”) a good framework to get started. Using Steve’s process, I developed this New Product Plan template.  Anyone could use this template and modify it to fit their project objectives. However, if you are more of a visual person, Ash Maurya offers a nice high-level representation of the process here.

I’ve realized that there is no point in writing too much. There is also no point early on in spending a lot of time playing with numbers and building a business case until you have met some potential customers and are clearer about the product-market fit. Keep your strategy document simple direct and point form if possible. When it’s time to present the strategy to others outside my immediate group/department, I’ve actually built a business case based on hypotheses that I have tested and I am confident that the new product will solve a need. At that time, I summarize the strategy using only a few PPT slides with key information.

I hope you find this useful.

The Startup Product Manager

Startup Owner's Manual I recently read  The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blanks and Bob Dorf and I would highly recommend it to any Product Manager.  It’s not a book that you read from front to back  rather it is a guide that you flip through as required. Therefore, a paper copy is highly recommended over a digital version. […] Continue reading →

The art of new product development

art A NPI (new product introduction) structure or methodology can help cross-functional team members follow specific steps in a coordinated way through a product development process that fits the business objectives and its culture. However, new product development is not a science; I would argue it is more of an art. Business leaders need to recognize […] Continue reading →

Mobile – It’s just a new platform

computer_2226954b Mobile is not a technology that mature Product Development Managers (like me) have grown with. However, Mobile is nothing to be afraid of; it’s just a new platform. Early in my career, I was an account manager working for a software start-up, and over the eight years that followed, I lived through many technological changes. […] Continue reading →