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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Product Requirements

There are various sources for requirements gathering for a product or service. Obviously the most important source is the customer who will be using the product or service.

Another valuable source is the environment in which the product and customer will both be surrounded by. A list of the most relevant environments that a product manager or systems engineer should take a look at are:

1. Technological Environment
Presence of new inventions, innovation, methods, processes, materials to achieve new tasks or perform older one better, etc...

2. Economic Environment
The cyclical changes in local and global economies, inflation (prices rising/lower purchase power), recession (trade down/employment down), unemployment, depression (panic), recovery, prosperity (employment up/trade up), off-shoring, debt/savings levels, income distribution

3. Competitive Environment
The landscape of competing (monopoly, perfect, oligopoly, monopolistic), competitors status, etc...

4. Sociological Environment
Cultures, changes in industries, religion, subcultures (teens, seniors), crime rates, etc...

5. Political-Legal Environment
Legislation, regulations, PACs, wars, etc...

6. Demographic Environment
Age, gender, customs, location of residence, etc...

7. Natural Environment
Natural resources, raw materials, pollution, etc...

Astute system engineers should research all these environments. The level of research might differ from on environment area to another depending on the product/service being developed. In some cases other environments might be considered and some of those listed above ignored.

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