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Developing a Whole Product Roadmap for Applications Software

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Application software poses special whole product issues, given its abstract nature. This short eBook describes a methodology for developing a whole applications software product roadmap.

Application software poses special whole product issues, given its abstract nature. This short eBook describes a methodology for developing a whole applications software product roadmap.

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  • 1. !© 2012 BRUCE PHARR
  • 2. “The point of greatest peril in the development of an emerging technology-based market lies in making the transition from an early market dominated by a few visionary customers to a mainstream market dominated by a large block of customers who are predominantly pragmatists.”“Pragmatists evaluate and buy whole products.”“Any company that executes a whole product strategy competently has a high probability of mainstream market success.” – Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 2
  • 3. A WHOLE APPLICATION SOFTWARE PRODUCTThe whole product concept, initially described by Theodore Levitt, plays a central role inGeoffrey Moore’s classic book on technology marketing, Crossing the Chasm: Marketing andSelling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers. The whole product includes everythingnecessary for the pragmatic mainstream customer to derive immediate value without havingto build or buy additional products or services.Application software poses special whole product issues, given its abstract nature. Where does the whole application software product begin and end? What are the complete dimensions of a whole application software product? What whole product capabilities should be built into the application software? What whole product capabilities should partners deliver?While the whole application software product strategy includes documentation, training andservices, it begins with a whole product roadmap. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 3
  • 4. WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP PURPOSE AND TIMEFRAMEThe whole product roadmap, fundamentally, plots the release or introduction of new and/orimproved capabilities on a timeline. The whole product roadmap serves several purposes: It is a tool for product managers to map the product strategy over a timeframe. It keeps everyone on the same page and provides a broad view of both capabilities and a release schedule. It is a mechanism for communicating the product strategy (and possibly a schedule) to internal and external audiences.An appropriate timeframe for a whole product strategy: Is no longer than the time period for which you can make reasonably good predictions. Encompasses your longest lead-time decision. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 4
  • 5. WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP AUDIENCEThe primary audience for the whole product roadmap is the key stakeholders in productmanagement and marketing, product design, product development, sales and services. Thestakeholders are, collectively, responsible for: Allocating limited resources for programs and activities that drive profitable growth. Ensuring successful execution of the programs.Therefore, it is imperative that the key stakeholders are aware of, and in agreement with,the details of the whole product roadmap and the release schedule.Secondary audiences include employees within the company, customers, prospectivecustomers, board members and potential investors. It is neither necessary nor advisable thatthese audiences see the detailed whole product roadmap used by the primary audience.Rather, modifications should be made to transform the detailed roadmap into a version thatis appropriate for each audience. Usually, this is high-level information with a concise, clearmessage presented in an easy to understand format. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 5
  • 6. WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGYThe development process examines the product in five dimensions as shown in Diagram 1. 1. Core capabilities are functional (e.g., data management) and non-functional (e.g., system architecture) product characteristics. 2. Human interface addresses the interactive behavior of the product with people (personas and scenarios). 3. Machine interface addresses the interactive behavior of the product with instruments and other hardware. 4. Upstream data sources are software or databases that feed data directly to the product 5. Downstream data receivers are software or databases fed data directly from the product DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 6
  • 7. DIAGRAM 1: FIVE DIMENSIONS OF THE WHOLE PRODUCT H UM AN 2 I NTERFACE 4 1 5 U PSTREAM C ORE D OW NSTREAM D ATA P RODUCT D ATA S OURCE C APABILITIES R ECEIVER 3 M ACHINE I NTERFACE DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 7
  • 8. WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGYFive questions are posed for each of the five product dimensions. The five questions,illustrated in Diagram 2, are: 1. What do customers desire? 2. How are competitors satisfying customers desires? 3. Which desires should we satisfy to profitably grow our business? 4. What can and should we build? 5. What should we provide through partnerships?Partnerships, or alliances, are extremely important is delivering a whole product quickly andefficiently. Partners can delivery best-of-breed capabilities to augment the core product thatwould be difficult, costly and too time consuming for the application software developer toattempt to build from scratch. Geoffrey Moore is very clear about the purpose ofpartnerships, or alliances. “Alliances have one and only one purpose: to accelerate theformation of whole product infrastructure within a specific target market segment.” DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 8
  • 9. DIAGRAM 2: FIVE KEY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER CUSTOMERS! What do customers desire? COMPETITORS! How are competitors satisfying customers desires? COMPANY! Which desires should we satisfy to profitably grow our business? DEVELOPMENT ! What can and should we build? PARTNERS! What should we provide through partnerships? DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 9
  • 10. A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP CASE STUDYDiagram 3 is a simplified view of laboratory information management system (LIMS)software used in a genomics lab. Upstream sources provide contextual data for the samplesto be tested. Core functional capabilities are management of samples, tests, and results.Instruments, controlled and monitored by lab personnel through user interfaces, performlaboratory tests. Contextual, test and instrument run data moves downstream for analysis.The whole product roadmap addresses five key elements: 1. Preconfigured instrument interface (page 12). 2. Role-based user interface (page 13). 3. API for upstream, downstream, and instrument integrations (page 14). 4. Regulatory compliance for clinical genomics (page 15). 5. Partnerships with major instrumentation vendors, including Agilent, Illumina, and Life Technologies. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 10
  • 11. DIAGRAM 3: WHOLE PRODUCT LIMS SOFTWARE UPSTREAM APPLICATIONS (DNA SAMPLE CONTEXTUAL DATA) USER INTERFACES LIMS SOFTWARELABORATORY INSTRUMENTSA whole product LIMS delivers end-to-end analyticallaboratory management of samples, tests and results data. DOWNSTREAM APPLICATIONS (ANALYSIS) DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 11
  • 12. PRECONFIGURED INSTRUMENT INTERFACE PACKAGEA preconfigured package allows for faster implementation of software that automatescomplex lab information management from sample and library preparation, through poolingand sequencing, to de-multiplexing and data conversion for reporting and analysis. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 12
  • 13. ROLE-BASED USER INTERFACEA role-based user interface enables lab scientists to achieve their daily goals faster and easierby simplifying interactions and providing views that display “all the information needed andonly the information needed” for samples and experiments. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 13
  • 14. RAPID SCRIPTING APPLICATION PROGRAMMING INTERFACE (API)A REST-based API delivers benefits to the company, its customers, and its partners. Company: Preconfigured packages for upstream apps, downstream apps, and instruments. Customers: Customize workflows quickly and easily without hard-coding or added costs. Partners: Enable complementary apps through shared technologies (REST and EPP). DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 14
  • 15. REGULATORY COMPLIANCE FOR CLINICAL GENOMICSRegulatory Requirements • CLIA • CAP/ISO 15189 • 21 CFR part 11Security Capabilities • Control the authorization and authentication of personnel with access to sample and test data. • Control the role-based authorization, access to, and use of sample and test data. • Control the integrity (create, modify, maintain, and transmit) of sample and test data. • Control the authorization, authentication and integrity procedures for electronic records and signatures.Auditing Capabilities • Allow identification of all individuals who have entered or modified data, files or programs. • Record time-sequenced development and modification of systems documentation. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 15
  • 16. USES OF THE WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAPThe whole product roadmap was used with three key audiences to communicate the overallproduct strategy and critical capabilities. 1. Employees – The roadmap was frequently reviewed with employees in order to create a common understanding of the product strategy and to align functions for strategic execution across the company. 2. Customers – The roadmap was reviewed with key customers to ensure them of an upgrade path that met their evolving needs, and it was instrumental in renewal maintenance agreements. 3. Media – The five elements of the roadmap were introduced to key online and offline publication editors and reporters in early 2011, and an aggressive media relations program generated a dozen interviews and articles in key online and print publications over the next 10 months, helping establish thought leadership in data management and security for genomics research labs. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 16
  • 17. ABOUT THE AUTHORBruce Pharr lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife andson. He umpires little league baseball games, hikes in the SantaCruz Mountains, eats good food, drinks good wine, reads, andindulges a passion for the arts.As a marketing executive, he has a track record of increasing enterprise value bydeveloping and executing successful product and marketing strategies, and bymanaging technological and organizational change. As Vice President, Products andMarketing at GenoLogics, he led development, execution, and communication ofthe product roadmap described herein. He has held lead marketing positions atseveral private and public corporations, and he founded and led a technologymarketing consulting firm, for over a decade, with clients ranging from startups toFortune 500 corporations.Bruce records ideas, experiences, and reviews on his blog, MarketingMuses. DEVELOPING A WHOLE PRODUCT ROADMAP | 17