There are a few milestones every PM reaches as they settle in to a new opportunity. First customer meeting, first sales call, first roadmap discussion.
For me, a big milestone came today with the broad(er) distribution of my first MRD.
This particular MRD (or Market Requirements Document) was the product of four weeks of intense requirements gathering from, well, everywhere. It was written for a product concept that had been floating around the organization for a year, but had reached the "go/no-go" phase with the added frisson of "perceived market urgency".
Perfect candidate for a whiff of process, I thought, and the race was on.
A few lessons:
1. Look at so-called competitors with suspicion - just because other companies have "solutions" in the space doesn't mean they understand the market. You don't necessarily need "more" than them to be "better" than them.
2. Get feedback from your development and production leads into the document before it hits a broad audience - you want them to support your effort, not undermine it with "the PM is smoking some serious dope if he thinks we can release it by such-and-such a date".
3. Capture and use prospect quotes in your discussion of the marketplace. Bitter experience has taught me that what I think, while interesting, is irrelevant. What prospects think matters. So share what they think.
4. Include projected financials, especially a take on the total available market.
5. Think laterally when it comes to all the ways you can leverage a solution to target new and different markets, not just the one you'll serve first. In this case, doing this product will, in a future release, open the door to targeting an entirely new category of customer, which is a good thing.
6. Start thinking about go-to-market earlier rather than later - have an idea of what the launch will look like, what the PR will smell like, what sales training will require, etc.
7. Consider the advantages of pre-announcing. This is a fun strategy discussion that you can lead with the Great Minds of your particular organization.
Of course, my baby might get savaged upon further review, but the very act of sending it out was, to me, a big deal.
Alea jacta est. Stay tuned.