How do you take an idea and turn it into a commercially viable product? From development to product launch, there are many questions that companies must answer. Last month, we attended an event hosted by NextCorps (formerly High Tech Rochester) and presented by our strategic partner, Sparton Corporation, which addressed these questions.
The presentation, “Better Product Definition: Begin with the End in Mind,” explored various development approaches for improving efficiency in product launch. It broke down the process into three stages:
- Defining your new product
- Determining the flow of information
- Gaining customer acceptance
Product and process documentation is a large part of all three of these stages. From product functionality to regulatory requirements, thorough documentation keeps product launch plans on track and supports product adoption.
Based on Sparton’s advice, we’ve generated a list of 27 questions that can help you gather all the necessary details when creating documentation for product launch.
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Defining Your Product
The first step is to understand whether your product has sufficient impact to be understood, conceptualized, and needed.
- Who will be involved in defining your product?
- What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
- Who is your end user?
- Does your end user have a real pain or need for the product?
- How will your product address and capitalize on this need?
- Strategic business plan – Includes value and mission statement.
- Investor proposal – Outlines the value of the product and helps conceptualize the plan.
Keep in mind that once you start a prototype, you might be disappointed. Visualizing something and actually seeing it are two different things. These questions can help you decide whether to continue or change course.
- What are the functional requirements of the product?
- What are the technical constraints? (If your product needs Wi-Fi, what happens when your end-user is in an area where there is none?)
- What external technologies are needed?
- Are field trials or HFE needed?
- What are the regulatory requirements or standards for your product?
- What are the safety constraints?
A successful product is one that stands out. Consider any commonalities between other products and your own, and then determine your product’s differentiator.
- Is your product truly one of a kind?
- What are its assets and insufficiencies?
- What is the estimated lifespan of the product?
- What is your competitive landscape?
- What current and future technologies are people talking about?
- Instructions for Use (IFU) – Ensures regulatory compliance, increases product usability and new product sales, instructs end-users on safety and appropriate operations of the device. Whether you're a startup with limited budget or a well-established company with many resources, an IFU template simplifies the process. Learn about Novatek's IFU Template.
- White Paper – Details product uniqueness and lifespan of the product.
- Case History – Speaks to the market trends, competitive landscape, product benefits and other details of entering the market.
Launching Your Product
The big picture questions are just as important as the smaller product details. Without well-reasoned, well-documented strategies, a new product launch can unravel.
- Do you have a strategic business plan?
- What is your business model?
- Where are you getting funding?
- What are the cost constraints?
- What is your assembly cost?
- What is your marketing cost?
- Compliance documentation
- User/operator manuals
- Instructor-led or online training manuals
- Troubleshooting guides
Sales & Service
Your sales and service teams are essential to product adoption and customer satisfaction. Documenting relevant processes will ensure that they are performed consistently and accurately, benefiting your employees as well as the customer.
- What is your sales demographic?
- Who will sell the product? (Internal or external team?)
- Who will train your salespeople?
- Who will service your product? (Internal or external team?)
- Who will train your service technicians?
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
- Service training
- Sales training
- Instruction manuals
- Product manuals
- Quality processes
- Case studies
Understanding the smaller details early on will help you tremendously in your documentation process. To ensure you're not skipping essential steps in the product launch process...
Download our free Product Launch Checklist