So Your Product Is Going To Die. Here's What Happens Next.

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Here's my walk-through of the generic product retirement project. Set up signals, choose death (or life), choose the shape of the project (how you're going to dispose of the body), plan, prepare, …

Here's my walk-through of the generic product retirement project. Set up signals, choose death (or life), choose the shape of the project (how you're going to dispose of the body), plan, prepare, cutover, respond, and wrap things up.

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  • 1. A Generic Product Retirement Product Plan Slide Deck Kill It and Dispose of the Body, With Bullets or Love Phil Wolff Product Grim Reaper Graceful Exits at Let My Data Go.org #prodmgmt #eol #killthepwoduct #producthospice #gracefulexit #productmanagement @evanwolf
  • 2. Your product won’t live forever, right? Let’s have its endof-life discussion now. @evanwolf
  • 3. A generic flow Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 4. Signals Based on your advance directive, you’re tracking key indicators for signals your product is not healthy. @evanwolf
  • 5. Set Triggers Map Plan Signals End? How? Stage Deploy •  Choose key warning measures and vital signs Close Out •  Set up alerts •  Trigger Life or Death Meetings Done @evanwolf
  • 6. End? Convene your “death panel” to choose life or death. If life, go back to monitoring health. @evanwolf
  • 7. Choice: End Now? Map Plan Signals End? How? Stage Deploy •  Get buy-in •  Abandon hope Close Out •  Decide to end the product Done @evanwolf
  • 8. Where does the body go? How? @evanwolf
  • 9. Choice: Disposal Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Weigh product death vs. other options •  Mothball for later revival, Sale outright, Recycle parts internally, Sell components, Donate to NGO, Contribute IP to public (open source) •  Choose how your organization’s relationship with the product will end Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 10. Choice: Disposal How? Just Done Value Extraction Now Later Bullets & Blood Mind Wipe Mothball Graceful Exit Chop Shop Outplacement Adoption Set It Free @evanwolf
  • 11. Extreme Variations: Bullets & Blood How? Shoot first, ask questions later Pros: •  Rapid signals to partners, market, staff •  Rapid discovery of breakage Cons: Round th them a em up, put gainst the wall, s hoot ‘t il d drag th e blood ead, y bodies to a dit ch, tos in lime s . Pack your snacks ,g guns, a rab your nd leav e. •  Preventable breakage •  Prolonged cleanup stage •  Higher risk of liability, legal challenges @evanwolf
  • 12. Extreme Variations: Graceful Exit How? Leave the ecosystem better than you found it Pros: •  Thorough •  Builds reputation •  Manages risk Cons: •  More up-front work Takes: Do right by u sers, -  Planning partners, the -  Soft skills ecosystem, & society. -  Rea diness for emotional Meaningful n otice, intensity data portabi lity, -  resource c paths for con ushion. tinuity, customer voi ce @evanwolf
  • 13. Disposal variations: Mind wipe How? End the product under its brand name Relaunch under a new name or as a white label service and eting Mark ing suck? g messa l on w labe a ne n. Stick y agai tr it and @evanwolf
  • 14. Disposal variations: Chop Shop How? Sell the parts Harves t Dump the organs. the bod y Data. Plumbing. Experiences. Relationships. Business Models. Creative. @evanwolf
  • 15. Disposal variations: Outplacement How? Sell the whole product to another organization g in Product traffick @evanwolf
  • 16. Disposal variations: Give up for How? adoption Donate to an NGO Users have continuity Want it? Take it. Now. @evanwolf
  • 17. Disposal variations: Set it free How? Put the IP into the public domain Hand control to the customers or ecosystem Leave remains in the open for vultures and historians to pick over @evanwolf
  • 18. Disposal variations: Mothball How? Suspend the product until better conditions “It’s de ad” sh e said. But we k kept h new she im clos et cold st orage i ed in n basem ent. He the might live ag ain. Some d ay. @evanwolf
  • 19. Dig In Map, Plan, Prep, Rollout, Respond @evanwolf
  • 20. Map what’s to be done Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Detail your product’s… •  Technologies •  Operations •  Business flows •  Financial flows •  Regulatory flows •  Ecosystem dependencies •  Customer relationships •  Media relationships Deploy Close Out Done •  Staff @evanwolf
  • 21. Scope and sequence Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Define completion measures (how you know it’s dead) •  Choose how you’re going to end the product, step-by-step •  Communications/relationships plan Deploy Close Out •  Technology/operations plan •  Finance, Legal, HR plan •  Define post-product needs & plan to deploy them Done @evanwolf
  • 22. Prepare for rollout Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Execute pre-closure steps •  Announcements •  IT prep, operations, testing •  Business activities Deploy Close Out •  Cutover design •  Post-closure setup Done @evanwolf
  • 23. End the product Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage Deploy •  Flip the switch Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 24. Clean up and leave Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Rapid response to breakage •  Systems, relationships, legal, HR Deploy •  Dispose of product remains •  Track and handoff post-life services Close Out •  Product team debriefings, wakes •  Financial, legal, HR, real estate closeouts Done @evanwolf
  • 25. Done Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage •  Final project reporting •  Turn out the lights Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 26. Done Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage So that’s how we talk about putting your product out to pasture. Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 27. Done Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage Let me ask you a few questions. Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 28. Done Signals Map Kill? How? Are you Plan ready to Stage prepare for end-of-life Deploy while your Close is product Out still healthy? Done @evanwolf
  • 29. Done Signals Map Kill? How? Can you Plan shift to the Stage happily grim Deploy mindset of Close Out a reaper? Done @evanwolf
  • 30. Done Are you, your Signals Kill? product’s champion, best suited and best prepared to deal death to your own products? Map Plan How? Stage Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 31. Done It’s probably Kill? Signals time for a new #prodmgmt specialty. The Reaper. Map Plan How? Stage Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 32. Share your product death stories to improve reaping Your stories from real product endings Anecdotes tell us what to test Instrumented experiments Share hard data Surveys How people think Prediction markets Test conclusions @evanwolf
  • 33. Product Reaping could become a standalone product management discipline More science, less art More ROI, less housekeeping More brand building, less brand protection More experience, less “ooh, that’s a wheel” More up front planning and prep, less last minute scramble More reaping ecosystem: •  apps (or features in #prodmgmt apps) •  markets (for selling features, products) •  services (project support) @evanwolf
  • 34. Done Map Plan Signals Kill? How? Stage Thanks! Deploy Close Out Done @evanwolf
  • 35. Phil Wolff e skype v t phil@LetMyDataGo.org evanwolf +1-510-343-5664 @evanwolf @letmydatago bio cv blog About.me/evanwolf Linkedin.com/in/philwolff Letmydatago.org Hi! Email or tweet your stories, suggestions, referrals or just call/skype Phil Wolff is a consulting product manager in Oakland, California. Phil co-founded four startups, worked as a programmer, project manager, business analyst, technology architect, industry analyst, operations researcher, and tech journalist at Bechtel National, Wang Labs, LSI Logic, Adecco SA, NavSup, and privacy NGOs. @evanwolf
  • 36. Phil Wolff Hi! Email or tweet your stories, suggestions, referrals or just call/skype e skype v t phil@LetMyDataGo.org evanwolf +1-510-343-5664 @evanwolf @letmydatago bio cv blog About.me/evanwolf Linkedin.com/in/philwolff Letmydatago.org Phil Wolff is a consulting product manager in Oakland, California. Phil co-founded four startups, worked as a programmer, project manager, business analyst, technology architect, industry analyst, operations researcher, and tech journalist at Bechtel National, Wang Labs, LSI Logic, Adecco SA, NavSup, and privacy NGOs. He volunteers in Code for America’s #OpenOakland brigade. @evanwolf