Critical Success Factors

The Product Viability Index ® (PVI).

The PVI is a gap analysis for estimating the degree to which a product is ready for market. It uses a set of 39 principles, a combination of best practices and critical success factors, which have been converted into a series of statements.

Based on Brown and Company research, these best practices and critical success factors have substantial influence on ultimate product success. Some individual statements might change, however, depending on specific goals or the circumstances of the company.

Here’s how it works: to initiate an analysis, individual team members define a product concept (or current iteration) to measure. A definition of the product is written by a project leader from a customer’s point-of-view, with a fair amount of detail.

Then team members use the list of statements to assess the product concept, almost like a doctor doing a checkup on a patient. Your doctor has a checklist — blood pressure, temperature, that sort of thing — and team members have similar checklist.

Team members respond to each of the listed statements by either agreeing or disagreeing, scoring each using a ten-point scale. The scores are added up, and an overall score for all statements — an audit scope — is determined.

Once each team member completes the PVI, the collective scores of all the individual audits are merged into a final score. It is the final score that reflects the opinion of the team — their collective wisdom as a working unit — regarding the overall health of their patient. Or, rather, the market readiness of their product.

Similar to other problem-solving models, the main benefit of the PVI is that it ensures that major considerations are not missed. In fact, it ensures that they are actively discussed on a regular basis. As a team.

Another benefit of the PVI is that it provides a relative score. That is, if you evaluate a product concept today, and then again in three months, you’ll be able to see the degree to which product readiness has changed. This allows scores to be tracked over time.

Finally, the PVI focuses on marketing principles. Its structure is similar to other closed-loop assessment tools, such as Six Sigma, which use a methodology called DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). The idea is to clearly define problem areas, rank them, and then focus resources on the most important ones.

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