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Southern New Hampshire University Product Development Process Case Study

Southern New Hampshire University Product Development Process Case Study

Question Description

Competency

In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competency:

  • Explain how product management techniques are used to manage the process of a product development

Scenario

Maverick Auto Company was established in 1968 in Dearborn, Michigan, by three former GM employees. Their mission was to be a small, nimble auto brand that could respond to the needs and wants of their customers. They are a niche brand in the auto market but have a loyal customer following. Their specialty is all-wheel-drive sedans and crossover SUVs. Below is a matrix of the basic information related to their current product portfolio:

Model Maverick Sprinter Maverick Descent Maverick Legend Maverick XKR Maverick CrossTracker
Car Type
2-door coupe
4-door small car
4-door sedan
4-door extended hatchback
4-door crossover SUV
Years on the market
25
30
15
10
3
Years since last redesign
15
12
8
5
3
Percentage of Maverick’s sales
7%
18%
27%
34%
14%
Submarket category
coupes/sports cars
4-door small cars
4-door sedans
hatchbacks/wagons
crossovers/small SUVs
# of total cars in category
36
78
78
28
55
This year’s sales position in category
30
37
23
8
42
Last year’s sales position in category
28
36
24
11
48
Next year’s projected position in category
34
38
23
5
35
MSRP
$14,999
$18,999
$22,999
$25,999
$28,999
Seating capacity
4
5
5
5
5
Fuel economy (city/hwy)
28/38
24/33
22/31
22/32
20/21
Luxury level (1 is basic, 10 is high luxury)
2
4
4
6
7
Available upgrades
Leather package
Leather package, chrome wheels
Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system
Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system, tinted windows
Leather package, chrome wheels, upgraded stereo system, tinted windows, plug-In hybrid package ($6,800)

You have been brought in as a consultant to help Maverick Auto Company understand its product portfolio and present to stakeholders on how you intend to use product management techniques to manage their product development process. You will create a document that maps out the product life cycle from creation to launch. You will use a phase and gate map that visualizes each step for stakeholders, showing the process, ideas, and concepts in a timeframe appropriate for the product.

Then, using the research provided by the research team, determine which vehicle is in decline and should be replaced within the next five years.

The Maverick Market research team has provided the following insights into the current state of customer wants and needs:

  • Customers are less interested in small coupe-style vehicles.
  • Customers like the option to upgrade the engine system to include more fuel-efficient options, like a hybrid fuel option.
  • Customers often think of Maverick as a good commuter car, good starter vehicle, or good second family vehicle to complement a larger vehicle.
  • Maverick vehicles are popular in areas with adverse winter weather or frequent rain storms because of their all-wheel drive system.
  • Customers like to be able to seat five passengers without feeling too cramped.
  • Customers like the options to upgrade to a sport package, with front and side trim pieces, a rear spoiler, and a supercharged engine.
  • Most car companies are coming out with crossover SUV models and very few sedan or wagon-style vehicles.
  • There are very few smaller all-wheel drive model vehicles on the market.
  • There are few smaller vehicles that come with the plug-in hybrid as an optional upgrade, rather than standard.

Directions

Deliverable 1: Product Analysis and Recommendation

Stakeholders have asked for a product analysis and recommendation to accompany your phase and gate map. This analysis should use product management techniques to inform product development recommendations.

  • Stakeholders have asked you to conduct a product analysis on the five cars in Maverick Auto Company’s product portfolio. Using information from the product portfolio and customer needs, provide the following to your stakeholders:
    • Your professional recommendation for which car is in decline and should be replaced in the next five years
    • Explanation for your reasoning
  • Use the customer research that has been provided in the scenario to help guide your analysis.
    • Use at least three customer insights to justify your recommendation to stakeholders.

Deliverable 2: Phase and Gate Map

The phase and gate map is a product management technique used to inform product management decisions. Your stakeholders have asked you to support recommendations for each phase with examples. Consider how this informs your recommendations in the product analysis and recommendation that you created.

  • Using what you have learned, complete the phase and gate map for the stakeholders of Maverick Auto Company.
    • Use the template provided for you. (This template is provided for you in the Deliverables section.)
  • In considering the company’s product portfolio, explain techniques you would recommend for product development.
    • Techniques can include questions to ask, product prototypes, activities, etc.
    • For Gate 1, provide 5—10 different questions that would help screen various ideas.
    • For Phase 1, provide 5—10 different techniques or activities that should take place determine if a product can move on to the next phase. You should also indicate which stakeholders are required for each technique or activity.
    • For Gates 2, 3, 4 and 5, write 8—15 questions that need to be asked to help determine if product ideas should be moved on to the next phase.
    • For Phase 2, provide techniques and activities to prepare a business case for stakeholders, providing 5—10 techniques to do so.
    • For Phase 3, provide techniques and activities that will help the design and development of a prototype, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
    • For Phase 4, provide techniques and activities to help test and validate the product, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
    • For Phase 5, provide techniques and activities to help launch the final product, providing 5—10 techniques for stakeholders.
  • For each phase, support your recommendations with examples and reasoning to justify the techniques you have chosen.

    What to Submit

    Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following

    The image depicts cars lined up at a car dealership.

    1. Professional Recommendation (250—300 words)
      After analyzing Maverick Auto Company’s product line, make a professional recommendation on which product is in decline and should be replaced within the next five years. You should provide an explanation to support your recommendation.
    2. Phase and Gate Map– see attached of the template!
      Complete the provided phase and gate map to present to the stakeholders of Maverick Auto Company. Your map should be a professional document using the industry’s product line to help drive your responses.
    3. Reference List For each source that you cite, you need to include the author’s name, the publication year, the title of the source, and the location of the source in a References section at the end of your work. Cite all sources appropriately.

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