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What do fondue and the product life cycle have in common?

Reinventing the Product Life Cycle

by Talene Pittaway

Reinventing the Product Life Cycle

The 1960s was a pivotal decade marked by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the moon landing. The Beatles released Love Me Do, and movies like Psycho and To Kill A Mockingbird played in the cinemas. People enjoyed fondue and shrimp cocktails, and memorable inventions include cassettes, the computer mouse, and Etch A Sketch. It was also during the '60s when Harvard's Theodore Levitt created the product life cycle framework. He talked about nylon as a product reaching maturity - but using his framework it was repurposed into other products, extending its life and value over and over again. A gamechanger for revenue - ka-ching!

Levitt Product Life Cycle

Levitt's framework has had a few makeovers, growing from 4 steps to 5, then 6. Even I remember studying it when I was at uni in 2006! Business has evolved since the '60s and this old-school Product Life Cycle framework is no longer a good fit for modern organisations operating in an everchanging technology-driven landscape. Monitoring financial metrics alone is risky... So what do we do? Add on a few more steps to the lifecycle? Scrap it and start again? Or maybe reinvent it, keeping some of the fundamentals but adapting it to the 21st century to better suit modern Product Managers - and consumers of the future. Regulation is a hot topic and it doesn't factor into Levitt's current framework... we can't be surprised, it was the '60's - cigarettes were still heavily advertised!

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How many products do we use daily that didn’t exist 10 years ago? The way we demand and consume products is changing. What will the next decade bring? A world where augmented reality, driverless transportation, drones, AI and the use of bots are consumed before we've had our morning coffee? A far cry from fondue and prawn cocktails...

Technology has changed the way we live, and a framework from 1962 doesn't work in this new ecosystem. We need to reassess the way we operate to ensure a product is successful in domains other than revenue alone. Products need continuous reviewing to ensure ongoing success. Skyjed's framework and 360-degree product audit has reinvented the product life cycle. It measures not 1 - but 5 domains of product health:Frame 59 (1)

Levitt focused on revenue only, and in 2020 it's simply not going to cut it. Regulation and product governance are hot topics and they're not going away. Afterall, what is good revenue if you're not ticking boxes for regulatory compliance, product innovation, customer experience and value?

Skyjed FinalistsWant to know more about Regtech and Product Governance? Follow Skyjed on LinkedInrequest a demo, and check out our blog here

Topics:Product Management TrendsProduct PeopleProduct Growth Strategy