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.