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Product Lifecycle

A product strategy is dynamic and evolves alongside the product. The Product Owner adjusts it over time to reflect changes in the market and customer behaviors. From the initial introduction of a product to eventual decline, each phase of the product life cycle presents unique challenges and opportunities. By understanding in which stage a product is in its life cycle, organizations and Scrum Teams can apply and adapt their product strategy allowing them to stay competitive and serve their customer’s needs.

One way to do this is by using the product life cycle model as a guide to track the different stages a product goes through from market introduction to market withdrawal. 

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Product Lifecycle

                                                                  Image Source: Red Tangerine

Though the model appears to be linear, products do not always move from one stage to the next one. In reality, they tend to shift back and forward between stages, depending on the goals that are being pursued and the product strategy that is being applied. Just like a dying tree could be nourished back to good health with the right care, a product strategy could create new opportunities for a mature or declining product. What strategy to use at what stage depends on context as shown in the following examples.


Introduction
Product Launch! At this stage there are many unknowns and demand for the product will still need to be created. Questions to explore as part of the product strategy might be focusing on the launch of your new product such as:

  • How to launch the product?
  • How do we create demand for our product?
  • How to penetrate the market? 
  • How to achieve product-market fit?
  • What audience are we targeting?

 

Growth
In this phase the product is growing, there is an increasing demand for the product, the number of users is getting larger and sales are growing. At this stage, the product strategy might focus on questions such as: 

  • How can we increase our market share? 
  • What can we do to ensure our product stays attractive and therefore preserve its growth? 
  • What audience are we targeting? Has our audience changed? What audience could we target to expand?
     

Maturity
A sign that a product has entered the mature stage is when it has stopped growing, meaning it has stagnated and there is a struggle to increase the number of users and the benefits the product creates for the organization. As part of the strategy questions such as below can be worth exploring:

  • How deep is our product in maturity? Has it only recently stagnated or has this been going on for some time?
  • Do we want to spend time and money into bringing the product back to the growth stage?
    • Is it worth adapting our product or product offering to increase desirability and attract new users?
    • Is it worth introducing our product to new markets? 
  • Should we let the product mature and plan on how to transition to new product development?
  • Who is our current audience? How do we maintain market share with them?
     

Decline
When a product is not benefiting the company and customer anymore or taking away from another product that the company thinks is superior, it is time to consider retiring the product. When a Product Owner has decided to retire a product, they should plan how they will discontinue it. An important step is to identify the audience who is still using the product. This helps with developing new products, and formulating a new product onboarding approach. It also helps you provide a plan for your current customers and user to move to other options so that they are not left sidelined. Some questions to explore as you consider retiring your product are:

  • What data and information do we have to support the case for retiring our product?
  • Has the market changed? How much unrealized (potential) value is there left to pursue?
  • Does our product still benefit our organization?
  • Does our product still benefit our customers?
  • Is this product still aligned with the organization’s strategic goals?
  • Who is our audience? What are their needs? Are they worth satisfying with this product or another solution?
     

Knowing where a product is in its life cycle enables the Product Owner to make informed decisions that drive the product's success and ensure its relevance in the market.
 


Resources:

Blog Post
What if I told you there is one 1 question you can ask to figure out where you are in the product life cycle? Moreover, what if I told you figuring out where you are can tell you the kind of complexities you can expect to deal with?
3.5 from 3 ratings

 

Module
How does a Scrum Team know when they've delivered enough product value? This information is especially important in managing the life cycle of a product.
4 from 2 ratings

 

 

Module
How does a Scrum Team know when there's more product value to pursue? This piece answers how as well as some techniques.
4 from 7 ratings

 

 

 

 




 


 


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