Every product goes through some sort of product development cycle. No two cycles are the same, because each product has specific questions that concern its specific market and audience.
For the diary study app that I am proposing, the following questions are intended to make me think about what is needed in order to create this app and market it. Many of these questions I do not know the answers to at this moment. The answers to questions that I do have are written below in italics.
Who is the target market? How big is it?
The target market consists of market researchers and user experience researchers who conduct diary studies as part of their work. There are roughly 100,000 user researchers and 500,000 qualitative market researchers (in the US)* Some who are freelance and some who are working for companies. Of those 600,000 only 1/6 of them are interested in running a diary study. But the others, who may not be interested because of the time it takes to administer, or the lack of experience running a study could be converted into users if the app does a good enough job of making the process of administering a diary study easy and valuable enough for the researcher and the company.
Why do they need this?
Researchers who are already conducting diary studies do so through a series of hacks. They have a difficult time keeping in touch with their participants, keeping track of information, sharing the progress with the product team or client and synthesizing and archiving the data in an organized way. This diary study app will allow researchers to efficiently and easily run the study and get great results because the app will also be easy to use and accessible for participants.
What are the user needs?
Researchers need a reasonably priced tool that is easy for users to access where they can store, manage and synthesize participant data.
How would this be solved if it were magic/human?
If this product were human it might call the participants periodically and ask them for feedback about a topic.If this product were human it would keep cross referenced folders of all of the participants data and responses.
If this product were human it could take pictures for the participants and listen to their commentary about them.
Are they willing to pay for it? How much?What are they already paying for?
Who is already in this space?
Tumblr – Free
RevelationGlobal – Enterprise
QualBoard Mobile – Enterprise
dScout – $6/person/mission
UserDiary – Closed Beta (this might be exactly what I’m trying to build)
What will the solution look like?
What part of the solution will I focus on first?
What are the biggest competitors?
It looks like UserDiary already does something very similar.
What other products out there can I learn from/use for inspiration?
Is this product worth building/making?
What should the name of this product be?
Market Research – Customer Interviews
What tools do you currently use to run diary studies? What do you like about them? What do you not like? Why?
Why do you run diary studies? What is important about them? What are their strengths? What are their limitations?
How many professional user researchers are there out there?
How often do they run diary studies?
Why? Why not?
What do they see is the value of a diary study
How am I actually going to execute this?
Who are the competitors are there out there?
What is the roadmap – time, features, order
What does MVP look like?
What are the key user stories (workflows) that need to be developed?
How do we prioritize each key user story?
What development methods/processes are we going to use?
Who is going to help create this product?
Mock up wireframes and test with users
Who will my beta group be?
My beta group will be the researchers in my network and their networks.
How will I get the word out to my target audience?
What will the starting price be?
Will I run any promotions to get people started?
How long will the product be in beta before public launch?
What platforms will I use to publicize the launch?
What metrics will I need to collect?
What metrics will tell me if the app is successful or not?
Are there other revenue streams that I could capture?
Is there any marketing support that could be done?
What other features could augment the product?
Are there other products that could compliment this product?
Maintain or Kill
What does the research landscape look like?
Is the need still growing or is it shifting?
What will ongoing maintenance require?
Not every question in this list has an answer right now. As a product manager I would spend all of my time answering as many of these questions as possible before starting the project and continue to evaluate the answers to these questions and new questions that come up as the product grows and changes through development and launch.