This business rules type is often forgotten or ignored. Not many want to think about terminating their product or service, hoping it will be there forever.
But it won’t. At least not in its first version. And your updates might be so crucial that you in fact will have something completely new than merely an updated product or service.
I can guarantee that at some point earlier or later you will need to discard one or more of your products or services.
What do you have to know then?
Again, the answer becomes clearer as soon as you put your customers’ interests in focus of your attention.
The following questions appear if you do this.
How will the termination of or change in your product or service affect your customers? Will they receive a new product from you instead, or do they have to go to one of your competitors? Or are you going to convince them that they don’t need that product at all? That they have that functionality with some other of your products, which they purchased as well? Will they need to invest something to use your new product? Will they receive more from the change? Will they have to change the links, addresses, data in their address- and data-bases because of the change you cause? Etc., etc.
Naturally you have to choose those methods, which will benefit your customers and will not cause any inconveniences to them. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid inconveniences. Then you need to provide as many benefits as possible, which will motivate your customers to stick with you during the change.
There will be rules and regulations on what you have to do or not do while terminating a product or service.
You can consider your product/service termination as an extraordinary termination of a contract. This is true even if you don’t have an active purchase order at the time when you want to stop your product line or service, especially if you did it over a longer period of time. Then you still terminate a contract, an unwritten one, but you do break a commitment. The one promising to your current and potential customers that you would continue maintaining your product/services for years. Even if you never made this promise in written or spoken way, your customers expect consistency and reliability. With the termination or change of your product or service you make a cut into the expected consistency.
You will know from various contract agreements that there are special rules on how to dissolve a contract, how long the notification time before termination should be, what kind of explanations can be expected and which must be given, etc. These rules are what you need to define about stopping or major change in your product/service here.
So ultimately you need to create a checklist of things you already know you have to do when discarding your product or service. It is easier to create such a list from a distance of time than when you are pressed with deadlines to do all at once.
And then there is one more challenge here. Some companies wait too long until they change or discard their product or service. They loose time and money by maintaining a dead stone. Thus, now as you are in the planning phase, create a list of criteria, which will help you identify the signs when your product need to be changed or discarded. The main indicator of course the diminishing interests by the potential and in the worse case also by current customers. So research, ask your colleagues and competitors, which are these criteria for them. And then draft such a list for your products, services and business in general.
As a conclusion to all the above we can say that you need to prepare the termination procedures as carefully as (or maybe even more thoroughly than) the implementation and production processes.
This post is a part of “Business rules: General”, copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels