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These audit ideas are from the book Building Dragons.
The Direct Impact Audit
I am going to paraphrase some questions from the book to make them work for software products, but during this activity (to be done with other stakeholders from different departments) you should ask things like:
- How will our users leverage this product/feature to solve a problem for (themselves, their clients, their sales agents… fill in the blank.)
- How might we leverage this product/feature to solve problems for our customers?
- How might we leverage this product/feature to improve a broken or imperfect system?
- How might we leverage this product/feature be used to create a new service?
- How might we leverage this product/feature to penetrate a new market?
- How might we leverage this product/feature to add value for our customers?
While asking these questions, you should enlarge upon them, by asking for example:
- How can we use this product/feature to completely redefine a product category?
- How can we use this product/feature to become the only relevant player in this category?
- How can we use this product/feature to make all our competitors obsolete in this category by this time next year?
“This is the right mindset, and from this mindset emerges the process itself: a constant search for new technologies and trends that could help you change the game for a product, service or industry, then leveraging it as fast and aggressively as possible to make the most of that advantage.”
The Indirect Impact Audit
For the indirect impact audit, your team should think about any ripple effects of change that introducing your new product/feature could cause.
For example, if you offer a CRM solution that adds social media analytics, that could reduce the application burden on your clients if you have a large marketshare. It could possibly put some of them out of business, if you go after that business aggressively enough.
This is not a one-time conversation prior to developing something. You should develop a mindset of continual observation, analysis, and discussion. Then you become a “predictor of the future” – your lucky guesses become more accurate because you recognize patterns and emerging trends when you are constantly asking questions like these.