Identify product factors that may indicate that continued development may be more expensive than starting a new product, or that technical debt is too prohibitive to continue. Identify your users major use cases for your product and give them transition paths to your new product, or to other products in the industry
- [Instructor] At some point, your product will be retired. It might be years down the road, but all products will be replaced, or removed from the market at some point. Here are some things to consider as you prepare to retire, or end-of-life your product. Retiring your product can be caused by a number of different factors. One of the most common is that you have a newer product that is replacing the other. In this case, focus on migrating users from one product to the next. You need to consider how you will migrate people over and how they'll be made aware of the new product and adjust to the change.
Another common reason to retire a product is that it just isn't necessary anymore. Products can become obsolete. The problem or issue they had has been solved through other means, and spending the effort to build or grow an existing product might not make sense. A third reason is the increasing rate, or growth, of technical debt. As a product gets older, it might have so much technical debt that it would take far too long to rework the product. In situations like this, you might decide to replace the product, or just retire it and move on to another challenge.
Finally, there might just be market and business reasons to end development. Perhaps a competitor took commanding market share from you. Or an economic downturn hurt your business and you can't afford to continue to develop a product. Whatever the reason, this is a situation where you need to put your customers first. While you aren't able to provide them ongoing products, this is an important period to be honest, transparent, and proactive. While they might not be users of this product anymore, they can still be a force and an advocate for your other existing products, potential future products, or for your company as a whole.
Your customers might be angry or upset at the cancellation of the product. While you might not be able to address all their concerns, make the time to provide general guidance on how to migrate to another product, even if it is a competitor. Other options, depending on the type of product you have, might be to keep the product in market, but leave it unsupported. This means that you will no longer actively develop the product, and it will, over time, just stop working.
Finally, there is the option of making the product open source. Meaning that you ensure that there are no license restrictions with any of the intellectual property within your product, and release it to the public to take over as a community development project. Whatever your reasons and resolutions, the retirement of a product is a key part of any product life cycle. As as product manager, it is important to put your customer first, to ensure that they can still be advocates for you in the future.
- Types of products and industries
- Leading through influence
- Understanding your team
- Using an agile or waterfall development cycle
- Managing your product life cycle
- Researching your market, customers, and ideas
- Planning the product
- Building the product
- Releasing the product
- Refining the product
- Understanding when it's time to retire the product