i need a reality check

stabbed in the back – what to do when you lose internal support for your product*? – part I

Posted in marketing, Product by josh duncan on January 11, 2009

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(*In order to protect the innocents, names and stuff has been changed)

To make a (very, very) long story short, I once had a very tough experience with a product of mine.  The product had been in development for almost a year and due to its controversial nature, had had to go through several executive reviews before getting final sign off.  These reviews were excruciatingly painful, but at the end of the day, they helped us really refine our strategy and internal communications.

During these meetings we covered:

  • Market conditions and growth trends
  • Competitor offerings and positioning
  • Marketing research (global conjoint and focus groups)
  • Product features, costs, and schedule
  • Sales forecasts (signed off by sales) along with rev/margins

It was a solid presentation (if I do say so myself) and it was a huge relief after the final review to hear we got the go ahead.  After all the this, I figured it was time to get back to actually working on delivering the product.

When it was time for us to start occurring internal charges, I started hearing rumblings that finance had concern.  Did I worry?  Nah, I had executive sign-off.  What could there be to worry about?  And then, everything came to a grinding halt.  Finance refused to approve the purchase orders since the risk was to high.  Without this approval, there was no moving forward.

Went went wrong?  How could this have happened after all the executive reviews we went through?  What do we do now?  So, before I tell you what I did, would like to hear some thoughts out there from other product managers on how they would have handled it?  Did I mention that if we were unable to get these orders approved we would most likely have to scrap the project?

What to do when you lose internal support for your product?

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