Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why, When and How, Part 1/3 | On Product Management

29/05/13 10:13

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Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why, When and How, Part 1/3
Posted in Business Topics, Enterprise Software, Guest Blogger, Organization, Product Management, Product Marketing - 24 August 2009 - 23 comments
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Note: This is the 1st of a 3 part series of articles by guest blogger Chris Brown. If you feel inspired to write a guest post of your own, click here to find out how to submit it to us.

To Kill a Product, part 1: Why?
It’s there somewhere, in the quarterly business review, a line item that shows a couple dozen customers, down from a year ago, which was down from the year before. It brings in a little revenue, probably less than a percentage point of total, but revenue being revenue, why not keep cashing the checks? “It,” of course, is the Product That Wouldn’t Die, its longevity no longer due to any real practical purpose but to management’s reluctance to pull the plug. But pull the plug they should. Even if costs are
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even one with relatively few customers. analyze market data and track KPIs for a product that most likely represents a tiny fraction of the company’s business. particularly if it generates even a small amount of incremental revenue? The first reason should be obvious: The product isn’t profitable. it may be necessary to put a dollar amount on these costs. But customers of troubled products can often fill up a Customer Support’s team queue. have low or justifiable costs. When and How. The most important reason why ineffective products need to be killed. why they’re in decline) and therefore can require a disproportionate amount of time and knowledge to effectively sell and support. some customers. and ultimately dilute the overall value proposition of the business. such as server and bandwidth expenses. The harder decisions have to be made for products that have some revenue. but no long-term plan. adding not only to expense. but also the time required to maintain both internal and external (e.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. needs to account for these products in their collateral and messaging. and that its performance. customers of more profitable products are left on hold or waiting for their email response. prospects or strategic relevance. Often dying products are more complicated than they’re worth (hence. as a proxy for all the company’s products. ineffective products divert focus and resources from core and growth products. generating a disproportionate number of phone and email support tickets. presumably poor. is because they dilute the http://onproductmanagement. If a kill decision is particularly contentious. which can be calculated by multiplying the number of hours spent supporting the product by the estimated hourly salary of the individuals doing the supporting. On Technology: Not only can there be hard technology costs associated with supporting a product. thorough and completely unbiased – and. if a product breaks. After all. someone has to fix it. Here are some examples of how a moribund product can have a draining. worse.g. even those with a small number of customers. This can present considerable sales challenges and erode the company’s reputation. if necessary. but to the clutter they’re continually tasked to cut through. her competition is dreaming up the “next big thing. The role of the product manager includes performing the kill analysis – thoughtful. On customers: With customers there’s a risk that the poorly performing product becomes a customer’s focal point. While the beleaguered product manager is trying to keep a past-its-prime product on life support. distracting effect on an organization and its customers: On the Product team: Product managers and analysts are required to field customer feedback. which can be harder – though not impossible – to quantify. will be used as ammunition in contract negotiations or. But products that are clearly bleeding money are not what we’re really discussing here. more importantly. and takes focus off of supporting the profitable products and. though. Why the hard decision might be the right decision Why should an organization kill a product. making a recommendation that is best for the business. All of these distractions have associated costs. in addition. Marketing.” On Sales and Marketing: The sales team needs to be trained on a product that very few customers actually use. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 negligible (and sometimes they’re not). Meanwhile.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 2 de 13 . customer-facing) processes. new product discovery and innovation. On Customer Support: The best customer support teams are fluent in all the products in your company’s portfolio.

Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. focus resources on core initiatives and customers. Part 2/3 Guest Post: Measuring Product Management (part 1) Guest Post: Measuring Product Management (part 2) Guest Post: Measuring Product Management (part 3) Página 3 de 13 http://onproductmanagement. When and How.com or follow him @Brown784 Coming up in this series: Part 2: When is it time to kill a product? Part 2 offers up six areas to keep an eye on for telltale signs. If you can measure the total value your products deliver (and you should). No one wants to sell. When and How part 3/3 Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 company’s overall value proposition. 5.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ . It’s examining these areas that will help product managers build the case to kill or keep a product. 3. a division of Classified Ventures.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. 4. LLC. You may also like - We turned 5 years old this week! How to hold a Kickass Virtual Customer Meeting (part 1) How to Hold a Kickass Virtual Customer Meeting (Part 2) Onboarding Product Management Mind the Gap Happy (belated) birthday to us (again)! 5 Share 2 Tweet this If you enjoyed this post. No one wants to manage a dying product. When and How. Email him at cbrown@apartments. buy a dying product. certainly. either. 2. To preserve its overall value. confidence in senior management.Chris Brown Chris is vice president of product management at Apartments. perennially poor performing products will naturally drag down the sum of that equation. support or. Me gusta 0 Related posts: 1. please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. now follow these steps to ensure a smooth sun-setting process. and maintain a vibrant workplace. a company should be willing and able to quickly put underperforming products to pasture.com. Part 3: How do you kill a product? You’ve made the decision to pull the plug. And with that downward pressure on value come declines in employee morale. . and customer loyalty.

I’m looking forward to reading Parts 2 and 3. Tim Grace says: August 25. Maybe. 2009 at 12:00 am 0 0 Rate This Article: To Kill a Product: Why. When. be ready to back up your assumptions and bridge the gap between reported figures and your analysis. When and How. Marketing and sales. The most common method for doing this is to take the total costs of each of the groups (Product management. 2009 at 1:32 am 0 0 Rate This RT @onpm: Article: To Kill a Product: Why. Mike Boudreaux says: August 25. Customer support) and then allocate these costs based on the weighted revenue by product. When and How. by luck your allocated time will be correlated with the revenue. Make sure you know the political landmines and the history of your executive team. And so. Part 1/3 1. They might even be buying your old junk AND your new stuff. EOL. and How part 1 http://bit. Usually. Also consider other stakeholders such as a services manager who is making a killing supporting the dying product and who will want to protect their P&L metrics. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 Tags: End of Life.ly/ZJTMX via guest blogger @Brown784 – great post from my boss http://onproductmanagement. Even if you get buy-in and support from Finance. When. you should consider how to migrate your installed base to the new stuff. There can also be a great deal of emotion tied to killing off products. the customers that are buying your decaying product are existing customers who can’t bear the switching costs to move to the next generation product.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 4 de 13 . OnProductManagement says: August 25. Product Lifecycle 23 Responses to Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. This is a great topic. but probably not. if your old decaying product has diminished sales then the allocated costs will be diminished as well – even if the product is still weighing down your organization. and How part 1 http://bit. but in many companies this can create major problems with management if you don’t use consistent numbers from what they’ve seen before. It could be that the product is the baby of your boss’s boss’s boss and that’s how he got where he is. You can create your own P&L estimate based on different assumptions. Technology. 2009 at 2:34 am 0 0 Rate This One of the problems with quantifying associated costs is that Finance will typically factor in a cost allocation when creating the product’s income statement. Reply 2.ly/ZJTMX via guest blogger @Brown784 #prodmgmt #prodmktg #tech #leadership Reply 3. Before euthanizing the old junk.

2009 at 2:45 am 0 0 Rate This RT @onpm: Article: To Kill a Product: Why. 2009 at 2:05 am 0 0 Rate This RT @onpm: To Kill a Product: Why.ly/3HRQ63 – #prodmgmt Reply 6. Thanks @onpm ! Reply 8.ly/ZJTMX.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 5 de 13 . great article! looking forward to Part 2 and 3! Reply 10. When and How. When. and How part 1 http://bit. 2009 at 7:54 am http://onproductmanagement. Thanks @onpm ! Reply 9. when and how to kill a product: http://bit. Joshua Duncan says: August 25.ly/ZJTMX via guest blogger @Brown784 #prodmgmt #prodmktg #tech Reply 7. Chris Brown says: August 25. Matt Stratton says: August 25. Olav de Swaaf says: August 26. when and how to kill a product: http://bit. Robin den Buurman says: August 26. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 Reply 4. and How part 1 http://bit. 2009 at 2:09 am 0 0 Rate This Como "matar" um produto parte I – http://bit. 2009 at 10:26 am 0 0 Rate This Thanks. When. Dov Bigio says: August 25.ly/ZJTMX.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. 2009 at 3:30 pm 0 0 Rate This RT @brown784: Tweeting my own horn: Guest blog post on why. imbertti says: August 25. 2009 at 3:17 pm 0 0 Rate This Tweeting my own horn: Guest blog post on why.ly/ZJTMX via guest blogger @Brown784 #prodmgmt #prodmktg #tech #leadership Reply 5.

Chris Brown says: August 26. I definitely agree that weighted costs allocations are not the way to go. Robin! Mike. Vice President of Product Management at Apartments.. When and How. and how making sure all stakeholders know the full set of decisionmaking criteria – that this is not a random or cold-blooded move. when and how to kill a product.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why.ly/ZJTMX Reply 11. Yet another team that is busy tweaking its services is the support infrastructure team (hardware. Dheeraj says: August 27. And re: the emotional ties.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 6 de 13 . it becomes difficult to really pin point the cause to a failing product or failing processes. 2009 at 3:54 pm 0 0 Rate This Thanks. and that there will be tangible benefits – will ensure a smoother sun-setting.. All you can do is put your best foot forward and hope the executive team appreciates the effort. Performing your own analysis may be politically perilous.. conservative. Thus.] This post is contributed by Chris Brown. It is also difficult to say if the processes are failing owing to the nature of the product. 2009 at 5:00 am 0 0 Rate This Any product’s versions are a result of feature triages putting the “must-haves” in the latest version. Why is it difficult ? Everybody is emotionally attached to what they have done and even leadership vision gets clouded. Chris Reply 12. http://onproductmanagement.] Reply 13. 2009 at 5:42 pm 0 0 Rate This [. With these variables in play.com.) [. the “nice-to-have” features are in the works while the sales and support teams are grappling with all sorts of feedback and tickets. general admin etc.). To Kill a Product: Why. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 0 0 Rate This RT @tiggero1111: Why kill a product? http://bit. When and How. when a product / product line falters. welldocumented assumptions should hold up. This the second in a three-part series that takes an in-depth look at that process and makes its own set of recommendations on why. Part 2/3 « On Product Management says: August 26. (Part 1 is here. In Part 3 I talk about how communications is tantamount. this is absolutely the biggest hurdle I’ve seen. security.. great points. but thorough.

. and ultimately dilute the overall value proposition of the business. one of the example is Toyta stop their production of Qualis in india although that time Qualis is market leader and shifted from SUV segment to Passenger Car segment. belling the cat is a step that sees a lot of procrastination. Thanks for the comment! Chris Reply 16.. That’s where the KPIs can be helpful. deepak says: August 27. 2009 at 3:24 am 0 0 Rate This [. Oftentimes. 2009 at 2:07 pm 0 0 Rate This Dheeraj.. When and How part 3/3 « On Product Management says: September 4. [. even a little.. They need to be able to cast a clear. 2009 at 11:50 am 0 0 Rate This Some time companies kill their existing blockbuster product although they are making money and mkt captalization because their positioning of product is shifted drastically. Chris Brown says: August 27. part 1: Why? http://bit. Pieter Gabes says: August 27.ly/ZJTMX Reply 17. unbiased eye on the situation.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 7 de 13 . yet I agree they have to be able to maintain some distance. It’s an interesting challenge.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. These folks have to be really dispassionate. While some members of the team are able to see that the problem originated in the envisioning of the product or that version. If the metrics you follow are well chosen. 2009 at 11:42 am 0 0 Rate This Reading: To Kill a Product. Reply 15. Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 This has been one of the obstacles I have seen in the phasing out of products. why kill an underperforming product? Because ineffective products divert focus and resources from core and growth products. then they’ll tell the story pretty clearly. sales and the product manager take a lead. When and How.] http://onproductmanagement. You want product managers to be passionate about their products. Reply 14.] Part 1 Why?: If it’s generating some revenue.

co/8wNc8Y0 Reply 23.. 2009 at 10:40 pm 0 0 Rate This [. When and How http://t. this...ly/erMXM9 #prodmgmt via @Jim_Holland Reply 21.http://t.. 2011 at 12:40 pm 0 0 Rate This In light of HP's WebOS announcement. I cant help but wonder why …http://t.com) [.. and How (3 parts. Rich Mironov says: January 3.me/pXBON-Lx #prodmgmt Reply 20. panels and open sessions like “How to Kill a Product“ [. 2011 at 8:01 am 0 0 Rate This Ever asekd yourself when to sunset product features? –> To Kill a Product: Why.net/2009/08/24/to-kill-a-product-why-when-and-how-part-13/ Página 8 de 13 .] Reply 19. VP PM at Apartments. Hani Abughazaleh says: January 4.] Plan some general Q&A sessions. 2011 at 7:29 am 0 0 Rate This an excellent set of articles on how to manage under-performing products http://bit.co/dycvybK8 http://onproductmanagement..] Reply 22.co/9zSN27d seems really timely. When and How.ly/8ZmpXY … on EOLing a product… http://wp.. Karmic Coach says: August 19.Guest Post: To Kill a Product: Why.] To kill a product: Why. While you were out: Top GUEST posts of the summer from ON PM « On Product Management says: September 8. 2011 at 9:12 pm 0 0 Rate This RT @onpm: @jockbu and this old byte. Product Camps: Where Do We Go From Here? — On Product Management says: May 3. 2011 at 11:12 pm 0 0 Rate This [. http://bit. When. Part 1/3 | On Product Management 29/05/13 10:13 Reply 18.. Michael Maretzke says: December 2. Chris Brown.

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