Product Definition

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Studies have shown that over 70% of all delays are due to inadequate or changing Product Definition.

It can make the difference between a failed launch and a blockbuster.

But the new product requirements process remains one of the most challenging aspects of product development – creating a dynamic tension between engineering (features) and marketing (benefits). Defining new products involves deep customer knowledge and the ability to probe beyond what customers say they want, to serve their actual needs. Teasing out new product requirements is an art that includes listening and respecting customers.

The challenge of the product definition process is one of the largest, most complex, and meaningful elements of any new product development.

Not only does it include gathering the product requirements, it includes the personas of users, segmentation of the user types, context of use, and the definition of other aspects of the product, such as customer service, support, the out of the box experience, user interface and user experience, etc.  And we could go on from there. Product definition is the umbrella concept that includes all aspects of how to marry the voice of the customer with the technical constraints to come out with unique and beautiful designs.

Blog posts


Articles & Presentations

Innovation Sprint Readiness Scorecard (.pdf file)
Design Thinking increases innovation while Agile increases speed; using them together in an Innovation Sprint gives you the best of both with more power than the sum of its parts. This scorecard helps identify areas to address before implementing Innovation Sprints.

Leadership and Product Strategy (Slideshare)
This presentation focuses on the technical and organizational skills for developing and refining a portfolio of new products.

Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard (YouTube)
Video describes a tool for rating an organization’s readiness to use social tools for defining new products.

Ten Questions to Answer Before Using Social Tools for Product Innovation
The effectiveness of social media for outbound marketing activities, i.e. getting the news out about new products offerings, and interacting with customers, is well known. But social media is also a tool for inbound marketing – for understanding the customer requirements that become inputs for innovative products.

Customer Collaboration & Product Innovation Using Social Networks
A presentation on using social networks to extend the product development team and create a competitive advantage for your business.




Innovate Products Faster

Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development

The prevailing view of innovation is wrong. The traditional view of product development is that there is a fundamental dilemma between innovation and time to market. You can have one or the other, but not both. However, this is not a physical law like Newton's law or the second law of thermodynamics, but rather a short-sighted view of management that likes to use the excuse "one or the other, but NOT BOTH". 

John Carter and Jeanne Bradford wrote this book to demonstrate that companies can have both innovation and speed. It requires mastery of tools and methodologies that will support managers in making better decisions faster. We're not talking about heavy processes or systems that require large IT installations. We're talking about tools that can be quickly understood and implemented. They are tactically straightforward, but strategically powerful. They are battle tested in over 50 of our client engagements, with measurable successful outcomes. And, they can be applied across different industries and a wide range of organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. 

To address the need to get useful information in a condensed, straightforward manner, we've designed the book into "bite-sized" chapters. You don't need to read the entire book to realize its value. It's organized so the reader can quickly identify the tools they need to solve their biggest problems first. Using a novel graphical format, Innovate Products Faster provides a fresh perspective on how managers can deliver more innovative programs. In this world where we are overwhelmed by a high volume of information, have very limited time, and hold expectations of getting answers instantly, we are adverse to wading through hundreds of pages of text to mine out the few nuggets of needed information. 

This book concisely portrays the forty best practices that can be applied to predicting and then managing a project to successful conclusion. It is written and organized as a reference guide for readers to quickly identify specific areas of interest and includes completed examples of each practice as a head start. We have tried and tested each of these tools with managers from small startups to Fortune 500 companies (over 50 clients) and have applied our line management experience in the capacity of CTO, VP of Development, and Program Management (working for iconic brands such as Apple and Bose). 

Each best practice uses elegant graphics to illustrate the application of simple tools such as iPad Apps and Microsoft Excel. These downloadable apps are easy-to-customize, pre-filled templates, which are available with the purchase of the book. The existing competition in project management or product development (typically long, obsolete, and mainly text) lacks many of these key differentiators.

  • Easy-to-navigate, short, and focused chapters
  • Rich graphical tools for solving problems
  • Downloadable software templates/apps
  • Modern methodologies (Web 2.0, offshoring, Agile, etc.)

View All Tools from Book →