We last wrote about “Ready, Fire, Aim” product development strategies in early 2012. But we are presently working with a couple of clients who have implemented the same strategy. So it makes sense for us to take a post to this blog to update our position on the method.
While we understand why this method makes sense for many early stage technology businesses, we still must express our strong advice to very closely monitor product performance, together with market perception of product performance, as products designed with this methodology are rolled out to the public for purchase.
“Ready, fire aim” does not include enough product testing time. So we advise clients to actually expand product testing as cash becomes available to pay for beta programs, etc. Product testing should include not only the technical performance of the product, but also the product concept. Manufacturers need to test the assumptions about markets upon which products were originally conceptualized. It’s best to pour cash into testing efforts earlier than later.
Early stage technology businesses implementing this technique should also make the best effort possible to carefully pick the customers who will be first to implement the products in targeted markets. Certainly revenue is a tough driver on this one. Most technology businesses will jump at an opportunity to service a large and influential customer very early in a product cycle. But why take the risk of closing a big sale with a prestigious and influential customer only to find your product is not working as advertised? A much better strategy would look to see the market at the periphery with some early sales to ensure the product is working as advertised and as expected.
Where possible, we advise not using a “Ready, Fire, Aim” method of building products. So, if possible, make sure to carefully position and prove your product concept before you build it.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved