You don’t just launch your product development into hyperspace without a pre-charted safe route, though. In the blunt words of Han Solo, “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy. Without precise calculations, we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?”
The right validation process is your star chart. The problem? Lots of product teams struggle with it, leading to one of two equally-destructive outcomes: painfully slow product development or products that just don’t cut it.
Let’s zoom back to earth and explore the most common product validation pitfalls.
1. An unclear value proposition
The validation process exists so teams can explore an idea’s value and whether or not it will drive ROI. But they don’t have a crystal ball. Trying to predict an idea’s true potential is hard — and when a team is really excited about an idea, it’s virtually impossible to evaluate it objectively. That’s how unproven products make it into market with a forecast ROI that’s likely to disappoint.
2. An inaccurate sense of risk
Bringing a new product to market always comes with risk, which is why a crucial part of the validation phase is to determine what risks exist and how many of them you’re willing to take on. But when a team tries to operate in hyperspace without a safe route, they may push past sizeable red flags because they think the rewards will dramatically outweigh any risk.
Conversely, when realspace issues pop up — like the pressure to avoid misfires and maximize limited resources — the team may be unnecessarily cautious and never launch the product.
3. A business case that doesn’t resonate
Part of the validation safe route is having a framework in place to make a crystal clear business case that convinces the rest of the organization that the idea is both practically and strategically advantageous. When teams go into hyperspace, they may inadvertently leave gaps in the story. Or, they may land on the other side of the spectrum and spend unnecessary amounts of time trying to find every possible tidbit of persuasive information. Either way, it isn’t a good way to work.
4. A shortage (or wrong mix) of resources
Successful product validation requires the right skills and the right mix of them. It takes a crew, and yes it can be comprised of the Wookie, the princess, the farm boy, and the all-too-wise senior who turns into a glowing ghost. Understanding the specific skills needed is crucial and if you only have designers, or you only have strategists, or you only have engineers at the table, you'll have more than a bad feeling about the results. Think about a small, yet holistic and effective team that can question and answer for multiple parts of the business, so as you attempt to validate the product, representative stakeholders are in place.
5. The wrong pace
Researching, designing, and forecasting a product doesn’t just take resources — it also takes time, especially when the product is highly unique. Rushing through it at warp speed can create a number of problems. On the other hand, going too slowly can result in missing a market opportunity.
Whether your team suffers from one or all of these validation struggles, you’re certainly not alone. You need a process to prove which ideas really are winners — and do it with speed and clarity. Launch by NTT DATA’s Rapid Validation Workbook has a step-by-step action plan that will help you avoid these common pitfalls. Uncovering the brightest ideas faster and more frequently than ever will help you take more swings with the proverbial lightsaber and avoid succumbing to the dark side… of poor product planning and execution.