This post describes the fourth phase in the Optimal Product Process: Qualify. Download the entire Optimal Product Process Ebook 3.0: CLICK HERE
As the end of development nears, the team determines if the product is ready to move into the final qualification phase.
Although there may have been testing done up to this point in terms of product functionality and reaction from customers, the product has not been considered final enough yet to determine whether it can meet the required level of quality to fulfill the overall product objectives in the eyes of the customer.
Many companies either minimize or rush this phase, compressing the amount of time originally allotted or deciding to ship a product that may not have been used in real-world scenarios. This omission can cause a major catastrophe for the product and/or company if the quality level should prove to be subpar for their brand image. It can also result in spending significantly large amounts of money launching and marketing the product without having verified that the quality and customer satisfaction levels will be adequate to drive sales.
The perils of rushing Qualify: Microsoft Kin phone
After spending hundreds of millions of dollars (perhaps billions including acquisitions) developing it, they spent a huge amount to launch the product and even had a launch party at their campus. Sales were so anemic they cancelled the product in LESS THAN SIX WEEKS. Had they done testing with real users (in addition to their internal quality testing) they could have avoided serious embarrassment.
Overview of the Plan Phase
Run the beta program, complete the beta report, finish the launch plan and begin preparing launch deliverables. Test marketing messages and positioning with the beta program participants.
Launch plan, completed beta plan with customer feedback that the customers find the product to be valuable.
Working with quality assurance, marketing planning, messaging and positioning, developing initial marketing programs, collateral and launch materials.
Decision at The Gate
Does the decision making team agree that the product is ready to launch?
Download The Optimal Product Process EBook 3.0
This book describes the seven phases of the Optimal Product Process: Conceive, Plan, Develop, Qualify, Launch, Maximize and Retire. It also covers the roles, responsibilities, tasks and documents associated with each phase. The Optimal Product Process is built on the worldwide-standard Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) seven-phase framework. The seven-phase framework defines the Product Lifecycle’s seven phases and corresponding tasks that every product or service encounters from conceive to end-of-life.