Chapter 3Build Great Products: Lessons from Agile, Lean Start-Up, and Stage-Gate

Introduction

“I love my phone!” “This report is useless!” “It's so easy to pay my bills online.” “What a hassle to take time off my job to go the clinic—the hours are so inconvenient.” “The building is beautiful!”

These are stakeholders talking. To be specific, these are customers and end-users. Here's another stakeholder's point of view. “There will never be enough traffic to generate the revenue we need.”

After all the effort that goes into a project, have we actually produced something that is desirable? Do the benefits of the outcome outweigh the cost of the development? Did we realize the expected value?

As we create products and services, hitting the value target is always a challenge. The project teams need to figure out exactly what should be built, and then build it correctly. That is true whether we are working on a residential remodel, bringing a new drug to market, or expanding online banking services. We call this journey from requirements discovery through construction and turnover a product development life cycle or product development process. By creating a standard development life cycle, firms make product development repeatable, and thus set the foundation for improving quality and reducing cost.

Unlike project management, which is practiced essentially the same in every industry, the steps of your development process will be unique to your industry. And as the demand for innovation ...

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