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Forecast

This is a sub-page from the Prioritising Products in a Portfolio series, have a skim through it to understand the genesis of this article. In addition, this article is related to the Initial Product Document (IPD).


As a Product Manager or Business Analyst, if you need to identify the products and prioritise some products into your portfolio, you would first need to have a good understanding of the current trends, consumer behaviour, market needs, company policies and competition's offerings. Being aware of the above allows you to make better decisions on what products are likely to create the most value and enables you to react proactively to changes in the market or environment. In addition, it moves you closer to achieving "product-fit".


Internal Environment Analysis

Internal Environment Analysis allows you to assess whether the product aligns with the business's goals and objectives. It also allows you to assess the capability of the business or team to build and deliver the product.


This analysis is a short 1-paged document comprising:

  • MOST: Mission/Vision/Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics. These statements would naturally exist in the company, but if it doesn't, you can partner with a Business Analysis/Architect to fish these out of documents, or better still, elicit them from the right stakeholders who would likely have these in their heads.

  • Policies: well this is obvious. You need to be aware of any policies that may impact or be impacted by the potential product.

  • Culture or Transformation Assessment: is the culture of the company agile? Are they welcoming of new ideas? You only need to perform transformation assessment if this product will be used in-house.

  • Business Capabilities: does the company have the necessary skills to build the product? is development and deployment rapid or slow paced?

External Environment Analysis

Here, we are referring to any PESTLE influences that may have effects on your product, PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental influences. An example could be Accessibility legislations, Data Protect, GDPR legislations, Brexit, Low technology adoption of over 65 year olds, etc.


Document Analysis

Document Analysis simply means to read and analyse a document for a previous product, previous project, previous outcome, previous strategy. The purpose of this is to get a sense of the lessons learned, potential stakeholders, what worked, what failed, and so on.


Adjacent Possibilities

This is also known as Benchmark Analysis. This analysis gives you a sense of industry standards, concerning the kind of product that you are preparing for. For instance, when making a fintech software, you would need to check for the baseline requirements that you must meet to make sure that the software matches with industries standard.


Competition Analysis

As the name implies, it allows you to get a sense of what your potential competitors are offering their end users. This way you can assess whether you can meet up or surpass those offerings, and what may be involved in doing so.


Market Analysis

This gives a sense of how volatile the market may be, how welcoming it is to new competition as well as current trends or themes.

Financial Analysis

These arm you with budgetary constraints, preferred pay back periods, minimum Internal Rate of Returns (IRR), and other financial information that will impact or be impacted by the products.


In conclusion:

Say I had some products on the horizon and I wanted to be able to identify which ones I would add to my portfolio or which ones to prioritise in my portfolio, I would first gain insight of the products by assessing the Initial Product Document (IPD) of each product and then skim through the Forecast.


It is essential that BAs, POs or PMs are aware of influences, policies or trends about these products before making strategic decisions concerning what product to work on or its priority. This forecast can be updated quarterly or more frequently (based on capacity).





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