Product School

What is Concept Review in Product Management?

A concept review is a procedure for assessing many, sometimes conflicting concepts to determine which ones an organization ought to invest in and bring to completion. Typically, a group of product managers and stakeholders take part in a concept review.

Understanding Concept Review for Product Managers

What is a Concept Review?

A Concept Review is a structured evaluation process where a product idea or feature is rigorously assessed by stakeholders, often including team members from various departments like engineering, design, marketing, and management. The goal is to validate the viability, relevance, and potential success of the concept before significant resources are allocated for development.

Why is Concept Review Important?

Concept Review serves as a critical checkpoint in the product development lifecycle. It helps in identifying any fundamental flaws, misalignments with business objectives, or technical constraints early on. By mitigating risks and aligning the team, Concept Reviews contribute to a more efficient use of time and resources, thus increasing the odds of a successful product launch.

How to Create a Concept Review?

  1. Define Objectives: Clearly state what you aim to achieve with the review.

  2. Assemble Stakeholders: Bring together team members from relevant departments who have a stake in the product’s success.

  3. Prepare Documentation: Create a comprehensive overview of the concept, including problem statements, user personas, market research, and proposed solutions.

  4. Facilitate Discussion: During the meeting, encourage open dialogue, asking probing questions and seeking clarifications.

  5. Collect Feedback: Document the feedback, both positive and critical.

  6. Make Decisions: Based on the feedback, decide whether to move forward, pivot, or scrap the concept.

  7. Action Plan: If the concept is approved, create an action plan for the next steps in development.

When to Use Concept Review in Product Management

A Concept Review is best employed at key junctures in the product lifecycle, usually before any significant investment of time or resources is made:

  1. Idea Generation Phase: To validate if the idea aligns with company goals and market needs.

  2. Before Prototyping: To ensure that the concept is technically feasible and financially viable.

  3. Before Scaling: To reassess the concept’s validity and viability when considering a larger rollout.

Real-Case Scenario: Introducing a New Feature in a Ride-Sharing App

The Situation:
Let's say your company operates a ride-sharing app and has identified a potential market gap: offering pet-friendly rides for users who want to travel with their pets. Before jumping into development, you decide to conduct a Concept Review to evaluate the viability and potential impact of this new feature.

When to Use Concept Review:
In this case, the Concept Review should occur right after the initial market research and before any prototyping or development begins. This ensures that your team doesn't invest substantial resources into a feature that may not align with your business objectives or meet customer needs.

How to Conduct the Concept Review:

  1. Define Objectives: The aim is to assess the market demand, technical feasibility, and alignment with the company's long-term goals.

  2. Assemble Stakeholders: Invite representatives from engineering, design, marketing, customer support, and senior management.

  3. Prepare Documentation: Prepare a presentation that includes market research data, projected user personas, estimated costs, and a basic roadmap for implementation.

  4. Facilitate Discussion: During the review, allow each stakeholder to present their views. Engineering might discuss technical challenges, while marketing could delve into promotion strategies.

  5. Collect Feedback: Stakeholders may raise concerns about the increased liability of transporting pets, or the need for driver training for handling pets, among other things.

  6. Make Decisions: After hearing from all parties, you might realize that while the feature has market demand, it would require substantial changes to the driver onboarding process and new partnerships with pet-care brands.

  7. Action Plan: You decide to proceed but as a pilot program first, in selected cities, with partnerships with pet care providers for special driver training.

The Concept Review helps you navigate through potential pitfalls and aligns the entire team before any substantial resources are committed.

Concept Review in action

Before allocating resources to the development of the new pet-friendly feature, we will hold a Concept Review meeting to assess its viability and impact.

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