Product Initiative

Each initiative starts by articulating clearly the most important direction for improvement of a product.

Market Conditions or Operating Conditions may indicate the need for increased or modified product functionality. Or, an in place Product Plan may call for specific functionality on a given date. Anyway, it is time to direct attention of multiple groups toward specific product goals.

Everyone involved with a product accumulates a wish-list of features and functions they would add given half a chance. A product designed to absorb an ever increasing complement of features is at particular risk of losing any sense of coherence or direction.

Therefore: Articulate clearly the most important direction for improvement of a product. Expect all members of all involved groups to be able to at least summarize the initiative and defend its business rationale. A new initiative need not align with previous initiatives. There is no intention to retreat on past accomplishments by withdrawing them from the product or withholding proper support. There is, however, every intention of reducing or displacing less than relevant thoughts in every mind within the initiative.

Expect an initiative to come from upper management where responsibility for major resource allocation rests. It is possible for a product initiative to boil up from the development ranks. What is important is that everyone accept the initiative as the direction of the moment, no matter how such agreement may be reached.

A clear initiative will Imply Requirements which should be talked through carefully in a Marketing Walkthrough. Definite schedule and resource goals further enhance the focus of an initiative. Throughout the initiative, management should track the Completion Windows of Work Groups on each requirement. Initiative slips result in over allocation of attention to one subject at the expense of good will and future initiatives. In the worst case Implied Requirements may need to be reviewed and possibly deferred or discarded in an organization wide Recommitment Meeting.