I have three more key tasks to add to the list to make a successful product:
Testing, testing, testing...
I cannot emphasise how important it is to thoroughly test a product from a use-case perspective before selling it. Also, testing has to be done by independent parties, i.e. the developers of the product MUST NOT be the ones who are doing the final testing. This is because the developers know the weakest parts of their design and therefore the tests they are likely to design will only address those weaknesses. Therefore, they are likely to miss the top-level and the most obvious tests such as the one mentioned in this report.
The best way to test a product is to give it to someone who is completely outside the design process of that product with a mission to make that product fail. It's incredible how such people are able to break a new product within a matter of minutes by trying out their own 'creative' methods. I have seen examples of this so many times in the past where the developers often ended up saying: "Oh, I never thought of that use-case!". It's all about looking at the functionality from a completely different angle.
A product is expected to do "what it says on the tin" and that can only be ensured by means of proper testing. Failure to do so can cause a great product to be perceived as a great failure in the market.
Designing from a system-wide comprehensive spec is a ideal many organizations would like to achieve, and some i the defense and aerospace sectors have managed to achieve it. In other organizations where designs reach down to the component level, a "ready, fire, aim" methodology prevails, and engineers who are designing under time-to-market constraints have to live with this. A case in point is Facebook, where in his IPO letter to shareholders, Mark Zuckerberg acquainted people with guidelines widely used by his company: "Done is better than perfect," and "If you never break anything, you're probably not moving fast enough."
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