Solution Validation and Customer Needs Understanding in the Early Phases of Product Platform Development; a Case Study in Digital Manufacturing Machines
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionINCOSE International Symposium. 2019, 29 (1), 338-355. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2334-5837.2019.00607.x
We have observed in our company that the high‐level specification of new products is difficult. The company works with legacy product platforms. Even with extensive knowledge about legacy products and applications, it can be difficult for engineers to understand if their proposed solutions for new products or features that will satisfy customers. The goal of this study was to investigate why the company is having problems with specifying new products that eventually will constitute a new product platform. We show that relying on proxies and agile development is not sufficient to close the validation loop, how validation of solution concepts fails due to insufficient specifications of needs and that engineers must rely on indirect customer feedback, which they often receive late in the development process. We trace the problem to a suboptimal definition of customer segments, causing a lack of validated needs and leading to challenges in calculating business cases.