What’s in a Product?

In support we frequently need to decide whether to let a product out the door or not.  Many times the sticking point in the discussion is around the difference between the code and the product, where the code is ready and everything else is lagging, from documentation to support training.  Should we let the product out?

To answer this question let’s remember that customers buy our product under the assumption that it will help them generate additional business value in their own operation.

In order to make an informed decision we have to answer several questions:

  1. Can customer do anything with code only?
  2. Can they do that with the new code and old documentation?
  3. Are we ready to support the new code with our existing knowledge?
  4. What is the risk we are taking releasing an incomplete product to the market?

In all cases, though, we have to remember that “product” and “code” are not exchangeable terms.  While the code is a critical part of the product, it by no means provides the entire customer experience the customer has signed-up for.

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