Assessing Product Opportunities

Assessing Product Opportunities

评估产品机遇

Recently I have written about reinventing the product spec, and the reasons to move from a heavy-weight PRD to a light-weight high-fidelity prototype as the basis for your product spec.  But where do these ideas come from, and how do you decide if you even want to build a product in the first place?

近来,关于重塑产品规格说明书我写了一些东西,原因在于一个重量级的PRD是转化产品规格为一个轻量、高保真原型的基础。但是你的想法来自哪里,以及你如何决定在第一时间bulid这个产品呢?

Opportunities for new products exist all around us, in every market, even mature markets. This is because what is possible is always changing. New technologies are constantly emerging, new people with new talents join your company, and competitors come and go. The product manager must be able to quickly evaluate opportunities to decide which are promising and which are not, and for the ones that look appealing, which ones should be pursued, which are best left for others, and which ideas are not yet ready for productization.

新产品的机遇存在于我们周围,在每个市场甚至在成熟的市场。这是因为这种可能性一直在变。新的技术不断产生,有着新技能的新人加入到你的公司,竞争对手层出不穷。产品经理必须能够快速评估机遇来决定哪些是有前途的,哪些不是,哪些是有吸引力的,哪些应该被关注,哪些最好留给其他人,哪些想法还不没为productization做好准备。

In many companies, it just comes down from above that we really need to do this product.  In other companies, the marketing organization determines what products are needed.

在许多公司,我们之所以做产品完全是来源于上级的意愿。在另外一些公司,营销组织决定什么产品是需要的。

In either case, too often the process of deciding whether or not to build a product is left to intuition (or worse, a large customer will offer to fund a special and this becomes the basis for a product effort).

无论哪一种情况,决定做还是不做一个产品的过程经常交给了直觉(或者更糟的是,一个大型客户将提供专项资金,使其成为产品发展的基础)。

Typically someone on the business side or in marketing will create some form of a Market Requirements Document (MRD) that is intended to describe the problem to be solved, and usually includes a business justification as well. The purpose of the MRD is to describe the opportunity, not the solution. At least that IS the theory. In practice, many companies don’t really do MRD, or if they do, they are essentially product specs that are called MRD. When true MRD are done, they suffer many of the same problems as PRD they take too long to write, they aren’t read, and they often don’t answer the key questions they need to.

比较典型的是,处于商业或者营销层面的某些人会创建一个MRD来试图描述要解决的问题,通常也包括商业缘由。MRD的目的是用来描述机会,而不是解决方案。至少理论上是这样。而事实上,许多公司没有真的在做MRD,或者尽管他们做了,但是他们把产品规格称为了MRD。即使做了真正的MRD,他们也会遇到和PRD一样的问题,MRD写的太长,不被阅读,在里面也没有回答需要回答的关键问题。

The result is that many product managers ignore the MRD. But the problem with not doing anything and just jumping right into the product is that it is generally a good idea to look before you leap. The challenge is to do this in a quick, lightweight, yet effective manner.

结果就是好多产品经理忽视MRD。然而针对问题不作任何事情,直接进入到产品中看起来是个好主意,但一定要三思。挑战在于用一种快速的、敏捷的,但也是有效的模式来做这个工作。

I consider this product Opportunity Assessment as I prefer to call it, an extremely important responsibility of the product manager. The purpose of a good product opportunity assessment is either to a) prevent the company from wasting time and money on poor opportunities; or b) for those that are good opportunities, to understand what will be required to succeed.

因此,我想我更愿意把这称之为机遇评估,这是产品经理非常重要的一个职责。一个好的产品机遇评估的目的在于:

a)避免公司在糟糕的机遇上浪费时间和金钱;

b)对于哪些好的机遇,要知道什么是成功所需的。

Fortunately, it is really not that hard to do a useful product opportunity assessment. I ask product managers to answer ten fundamental questions:

幸运的是,做一个有用的产品机遇评估并不太难。我让产品经理回答十个基本的问题:

  1. Exactly what problem will this solve? (value proposition)

1、要真正解决什么问题?(价值主张)

  1. For whom do we solve that problem? (target market)

2、我们为谁解决那个问题?(目标市场)

  1. How big is the opportunity? (market size)

3、机遇有多大?(市场容量)

  1. What alternatives are out there? (competitive landscape)

4、有哪些市场替代?(竞争格局)

  1. Why are we best suited to pursue this? (our differentiator)

5、为什么我们最适合做这个?(我们的差异化)

  1. Why now? (market window)

6、为什么是现在?(市场时机)

  1. How will we get this product to market? (go-to-market strategy)

7、我们如何将这种能够产品推向市场?(入市战略)

  1. How will we measure success/make money from this product? (metrics/revenue strategy)

8、我们如何从这个产品中获得成功/赚钱?(尺度/收益战略)

  1. What factors are critical to success? (solution requirements)

9、什么是成功的关键因素?(需求解决方案)

  1. Given the above, what is the recommendation? (go or no-go)

10、综上所述,建议是什么?(做还是不做)

The hardest question to answer is usually the first, which surprises people because it sounds like the easiest. But ask most product managers what problem their product is intended to solve, and you usually get a rambling list of features and capabilities, rather than the a crisp, clear and compelling statement of exactly the problem that is solved.

最难回答的问题通常是第一个,这个让人很吃惊,因为它听起来好像最容易。但是问问绝大多数产品经理你的产品试图要解决什么问题,你通常得到的答案是关于特色和功能的含糊冗长列表,而不是解决这个问题的简单、清晰、引人入胜的方案。

Another difficult problem can be in assessing the size of the opportunity. You can get thoughts on this from industry analysts, trade associations, your finance staff, and from your own bottom up calculations. This is a topic in itself, but for now just remember to be conservative and realize that not every opportunity needs to be a billion dollar market.

另一个困难的问题可能是预估机遇的大小。你可以从行业分析师、行业协会、你的财务部门那里,以及基于你自己的最基础的计算进行思考。这就是主题本身,但是对于现在来说,要记住保守一些,要意识到不是每一个机遇都能带来十亿美元的市场。

The go-to-market strategy is especially important as that describes how this product would be sold, which can have very significant impact on the product requirements.

如何把产品销售出去的入市战略是尤其重要的,这会对产品的需求产生巨大的影响。

The solution requirements refer to any special needs or requirements that were identified during the investigation. Again, we are not describing the product here but rather making clear any dependencies or constraints. For example, if this is a product that will be sold through system integrators, then these types of partners have requirements around extensibility of the products they deliver. Similarly, there may be branding or partnership requirements.

需求的解决依赖的是在整个调研中,特定的需要或者需求都要被确定下来。再次强调,在这儿,我们不是描述产品,而是清晰产品所要依赖或者会受到影响的因素。例如,如果一个产品是通过系统集成销售出去的,那么,这类合作伙伴就会围绕他们要交付产品的扩展性提出需求。同样,或许还会有品牌化或者合伙的需求。

A product organization is all about pursuing good opportunities and providing great product solutions. Opportunities for new products are everywhere, and it is important that the product manager be able to effectively evaluate new opportunities and identify those that have the most potential for the company. It is just as important that bad product ideas get identified at this stage, before significant time and cost is lost chasing them. Choosing the right set of products to pursue is among the most important decisions a company will make.

一个产品组织到处寻找好的机遇,提供伟大的产品解决方案。新产品的机遇无处不在,对于产品经理来说,能够有效评估新的机遇和对于公司的潜力是非常重要的。在关键时刻,糟糕的产品构想被识别出来,避免宝贵的时间和成本投入在此,同样也是非常重要的。选择正确的产品对于公司的决策来说是最重要的。

It is important that the results of the product opportunity assessment be presented and discussed with senior management, and that the company make a clear go or no-go decision on whether to pursue a product to meet this opportunity. If you do decide to proceed, you will be much better informed as to what you are getting yourself into and what it will take to succeed.

产品机遇评估的结果被拿出来和高层讨论也是重要的,公司会在是否面对这个机会上做出做还是不做的决策。如果决定继续,你必须在关于你将如何获得成功上知道的更多。

So what do you do if the CEO tells you that this is what we are doing, so just get to work on the product? First, realize that there are sometimes strategic reasons for doing a product, so you might need to pursue a product even when it is unlikely to succeed in the market. That said, I have found that doing this lightweight, quick product opportunity assessment is still valuable in that I become much better informed about what this product involves. It is possible that what you learn will change your CEO opinion, but more likely it is a good opportunity, and your CEO was right to want to pursue it, but at least now you know what you are up against if you are to succeed.

如果你的CEO告诉你这就是我们在产品上正在做的事情,你会做什么?首先,要意识到做产品要做战略考虑,这是因为你做的产品现在在市场上看起来并不是成功的。也就是说,我用这种敏捷、快速的产品机遇评估方式做出的评估依然是有价值的,我需要更好地或者和产品有关的信息。通过你所了解的一切去改变你的CEO的观点是有可能的,但是它看起来必须是一个好的机遇,因为决策权在你的CEO手里,但至少你要知道如果你成功了,你所依赖的是什么。

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