Product Development Lessons from Proctor & Gamble

Just been reading another article in the current issue of The Economist about Procter & Gamble’s approach to product development, entitled “Will she, won’t she?”.

Some quotes

[M]any people at P&G do not use the word “consumer”. Nor might they ask if a “customer” or “shopper” would buy a putative product. They are more like to ask: “Would ‘she’ buy it?” … Women have long accounted for four fifths of P&G’s customers.

and

Staff from [P&G’s] Consumer and Market Knowledge division tour the world and spend entire days with women to observe how they shop, clean, eat, apply their make-up or put nappies on their babies. They try to understand how a woman reacts in the first three to seven seconds after she sees an item in a shop (the “First Moment of Truth”, in P&G speak) and when she tries it at home (the “Second Moment of Truth”).

Some insights for those building enterprise software and esourcing software systems:

1. Be clear on who you are targeting. Certainly avoid generic terms like “user”. A particular challenge for enterprise software developers is that the person buying the system (could well be a Purchasing Director or CFO, for example) is often far removed from the people who actually get saddled with the software. Which one is the real target? Probably both. Most enterprise systems I’ve seen are great for one or the other, but struggle at being good for both.

2. Once you’ve worked out who you are targeting get to know how they really operate during The First and Second Moments of Truth, i.e. When they see the demo (they first moment of truth) and When they pilot it for the first time (the second moment of truth). You won’t achieve this by reading analyst reports and case studies. You’ll only achieve this by being on the ground with people as they work with the software.

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