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At what point is a solution ready to be shipped?

4 Answers
Laura Oppenheimer
Laura Oppenheimer
Bubble Group Product ManagerJuly 29

It's never going to be "as ready" as you want it to be. Because we don't work in a vacuum, the product is never built to 100% (I've never worked on anything where we had P2 requirements built into the product on launch day - it doesn't happen). There are three components that come together to ID when a product is ready to be shipped: 

1) Business needs: If you run an ecommerce product, then your product needs to be out for Black Friday and the holiday rush. Similarly if you work in fitness, January 1 is going to be a big day. Aligning on these key dates and deadlines with stakeholders up front is important. At Quizlet, we focus on the Back to School season, which we define as August 1 through mid September. As a result, we'll sometimes know that something needs to be live on a given date — and then we'll work around that business need to scope the project and/or add more resources as needed. 

2) User Jobs to be Done: I wrote in one of my other responses about being obsessed with problems. Once you're sure what the problem is, you can reframe it as a job to be done to focus. For Quizlet and the teacher products I worked on, this was "When I'm teaching my students, I want to keep them engaged and check for understanding, so that I can differentiate my teaching as needed." When you can take your MVP back to users and test it out, and verify that it's serving the job you've defined, you're ready to ship. 

3) Eng readiness: Especially with launching a new product, ensuring that your engineering partners are ready is key. This includes asking questions like "What happens if we're wildly successfully and this product is used by XX people overnight" and "Can we test our logging to make sure these key actions are being logged" etc. Moving from MVP/beta to a GA launch means knowng that your product can scale up as it gains traction and that you'll be able to measure and evaluate its success!

1189 Views
Puja Hait
Puja Hait
Google Group Product ManagerSeptember 14

It depends on the lifecycle of the product and goals.

  1.  0>1 product: Goal - to find product-market fit. Here its very important to think through your hypotheses, possible outcomes (Prove, Disprove, insufficient signals) and what you would do next - next set of features, V2 of the MVP and so on. Charting this out helps you then answer what you must absolutely answer to get to the next step. Once your product enables you to achieve testing of your hypothesis, ship it! This assumes that product/solution is usable and stable (not overtly buggy etc). Also in general, start with a smaller userbase, tweak and polish before going full bright.
  • Consumer 0>1: IMO, consumers have high expectations and they WILL compare your product with way more mature products. So its more important to pay attention to usability and product excellence (latency, bugginess, low connectivity coverage etc.) for consumer products. Its easier though to experiment relative to consumer products.  
  • Enterprise 0>1: Here offline/hacky support solutions can work initially to help you support operationally without building all the bells and whistles. So focus even more heavily on what problems are worth solving and are the solution ideas resonating. Remember though that for B>B>C, the enterprise might think the solution works, but their users may not think the same. So user research is still no substitute to actual launch data. 

2. 1> 100 product. Goal- growth in engagement userbase, retention, monetization etc. I think its good enough to ship when the solution fixes a known issue or gap even incrementally. Iterate depending on the effort vs impact equation. This fix could help retain some existing users, so it still matters. If its a novel feature, then follow the 0>1 principles in #1.#1.

1125 Views
Deepti Srivastava
Deepti Srivastava
Head of Product, VPDecember 13

For early stage products, a feature or solution is usually ready to ship when it meets the functionality for the main user journey(s) i.e. "golden paths" defined in your PRD or user journey maps, and passes the predefined usability bar from a QA perspective – user can complete the common tasks within expected reliability and performance metrics, all expectation cases may not have been hardened yet. 

In basic terms, a user should be able to use the solution to complete the predefined task in a reasonable manner, and be able to provide feedback that can be used to enhance the product.

For example, if the product keeps crashing in the middle of the user task journey, then that leads to a bad user experience such that the user can’t really provide effective functionality feedback for you to evolve the product, and they may never adopt the product at all. 

436 Views
Pavan Kumar
Pavan Kumar
Gainsight Director, Product ManagementJune 29

Several factors come into play in deciding this:

  1. Product target market: B2B / B2C / Enterprise

    Striking the right balance between customisation, integrations along with data security and legal compliance are key for B2B, Enterprise markets. However for Consumer markets, a mass market appeal driven by modern UX is often desirable.

  2. Product maturity phase: 0 > 1 / Maintain and growth phase / Market leader

    For a 0>1 market, the focus is always on validating the base hypothesis on product market fit, building a functional proof of concept would be good enough. However the focus would often shifts to scale, data security with continued market differentiation as the product matures.

  3. Immediate goals, focus areas along with key stakeholder expectations: Acquire customers, grow userbase / Get profitable / Customer satisfaction & delight / Competitive differentiation (first to market?) / Riding the current market trend

  4. Effort vs impact it can deliver

Ultimately, the decision to ship a product or solution is often made by considering a combination of these factors, in addition to the specific requirements and constraints of the project and stakeholders involved. It's crucial to strike a balance between achieving a high level of readiness and meeting the desired timeline for delivery.

385 Views
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