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The Holistic Product

What defines a Product? I would bet that if you go and ask people from different domains, the common answer would be that a product is well defined by its features. I will take the risk and say that many would add, features that create value proposition for the users.

Following this assumption, and I might be stating the obvious here, but there is more to it than that. There are more stakeholders than just the users and additional value proposition to the product than just the features these users use.

The Buyers, the Integrators, the Administrators, the Supporters, they are all part of the game and they are all part of the Product's ecosystem. A Holistic Product focuses on the important but doesn't overlook all the rest and it all must start as early as design phase.

Classifying the users' personas and their effect on the product is basic. However, zooming-out, taking a good look at the ecosystem, mapping all other stakeholders and their share of the product and building the product to these aspects as well, is more advanced.

The Questions

A product is not just about features, it is also about its Sale-Process, Packaging and Bundling. Who are the buyers and how do they buy? Is it going to be sold online, by sales reps, via channels or multiple methods? Is it usually sold with additional products or services? this will have an obvious effect on the sale itself but also on the way the product should be designed and built (think free-trial option, freemium model, features activation, etc.).

The integration and configuration procedures are extremely important. In order to get to some of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth you sometimes must walk on long and exhausting road. Some people make it and some give up along the way. The same is true about Product launch. Is it self-served by the user or should be setup by someone else? who is that person? the configuration has friendly UI or is it code-based? how long does it take?

Further questions should be asked about the Product's support mechanisms, upgrades or the way that product fixes are being introduced.

The ecosystem and the stakeholders would be defined based on the industry, the product, the company, the market and the situation. And so are the questions to be asked...

The Comprehensive Value Proposition

Holistic product to me is one that its design takes into as much consideration as possible not only the Usage but other aspects of its life-cycle, like Sale, Ramp, Support & Maintenance and in general, any relationship it has with the environment.

It generates a comprehensive value-proposition across the board, creating something greater than the sum of its parts.


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