The Strategic Plan

Designing a product that is so fantastic that it is beyond the status quo experience of expert users requires not simply research and develop­ment but also a thoughtful strategic plan. That plan includes three major parts: first, an understanding of who are the key stakeholders and what are their needs and desires; second, a complete product strategy that includes the development of the product and the ser­vices required to support the product through its entire life cycle of use and its interaction with its stakeholders; and third, a corporate strategy that establishes its brand and aligns itself with its products and customers.

Strategy One: Identify and Understand Stakeholders

In terms of stakeholder analysis, Close used the Powers of 10 analy­sis described in the previous chapter to identify and understand his stakeholders. As a result of that analysis, Close visualized the product on all levels of its functionality and recognized stakeholders at each of those levels. These stakeholders included not only owners or general contractors like sal, and crew members like Joey, but also the inspec­tors of the pipes, the engineers for the communities, the politicians who set policy, and homeowners and taxpayers who are affected by the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. The scenarios that were developed for all the stakeholders made it easier for Close to see all the players as real, tangible people, like Joey and Sal. It was then clear that the product had to be easy to use, easy to learn to use, and easy to repair on-site. It was also clear that the product had to gener­ate reports that would be easy for inspectors to review. As an outcome of the Powers of 10 analysis and scenarios, Close had a road map to show the direction in which the product and company needed to head—specifically, what the different levels and scope of the product would be, as well as the user needs for each level.