Navigating the Endgame: Prasoon Vidyarthi's Guide to Product Sunsetting

Navigating the Endgame: Prasoon Vidyarthi's Guide to Product Sunsetting

Prasoon Vidyarthi has built an ACE product sunsetting framework, offering a strategic approach to gracefully concluding a product’s lifecycle while maintaining customer trust and brand integrity

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 01:03 PM IST
article-image

In a market where most products fade away with disruption and bad news, understanding the endgame is crucial. Prasoon Vidyarthi has built an ACE product sunsetting framework, offering a strategic approach to gracefully concluding a product’s lifecycle while maintaining customer trust and brand integrity.

In the fast-moving world of product management, only one out of five products succeed, while most fade away. Product managers strategize launching new products or growing existing ones, the important job of retiring old products—known as product sunsetting—is often overlooked.

Product sunsetting is a nuanced process that entails withdrawing a product from the market with minimal repercussions on both customers and the company. This aspect of the product lifecycle is not merely about halting sales or support but involves a strategic wind-down aligned with a company’s long-term objectives. It is an essential component of sustained innovation, acknowledging that not all products will achieve their intended outcomes.

In the dynamic Indian market, where consumers are acutely value-sensitive and trust plays a crucial role in purchasing decisions, the stakes in product sunsetting are particularly high. An inadequately managed product sunset can alienate customers and tarnish the brand’s reputation, potentially impacting the performance of other products in the portfolio.

Understanding Mr. Vidyarthi’s ACE Framework for Product Sunsetting

Product sunsetting is a deliberate process aimed at retiring a product, strategically planned and executed to conclude its journey. Prasoon Vidyarthi, an expert product manager, delves into this often neglected yet crucial aspect of product management. "Every product is destined to conclude, and it is the duty of product managers to strategically orchestrate this phase," explains Vidyarthi.

He advocates for a structured approach to product sunsetting, encapsulated in his ACE framework: Anticipate, Commit, and Engage.

Anticipate

Anticipation is pivotal in product sunsetting, much like being prepared with an umbrella upon forecasts of rain. Product managers should adopt this anticipatory mindset by predicting the end of a product’s lifecycle early, thus steering clear of abrupt decisions. Vigilant monitoring of key performance indicators—such as customer attrition, engagement scores, and revenue—enables managers to devise an effective exit strategy at every product stage. This proactive stance helps avoid the sunk cost fallacy, ensuring that decisions are not only data-driven but also align with customer needs and business objectives. By recognizing indicators like unit economics, lifetime value, and customer acquisition costs, managers can adeptly navigate the product’s end-of-life phase. Vidyarthi emphasizes the necessity of keeping a vigilant eye on sunsetting cues throughout the product's evolution to prevent unforeseen discontinuations and ensure alignment with the company's long-term strategy.

Commit

Commitment to the sunsetting process is just as important as launching a new product. Sunsetting isn't a sign of failure but a normal part of a product's life. According to Vidyarthi, organizations need to invest enough resources in this phase, including running awareness campaigns, adjusting customer support, and using strong communication strategies. This level of commitment ensures that the transition is seen as a strategic move, not a retreat, showing that the product’s life cycle was planned and managed well. "Commitment is the difference between a good and bad sunset," says Vidyarthi, highlighting the importance of dedicating resources, time, and attention to product sunsetting. Many organizations either ignore sunsetting or assign minimal resources, which is why product teams often dread dealing with declining products. However, if done right, sunsetting offers an opportunity for product managers to create a win-win strategy for both customers and the company. Vidyarthi also stresses that part of this commitment is finding ways to keep customers with other viable products. The trust earned from the outgoing product can be maintained by properly managing the transition, but it all starts with a strong commitment to the sunsetting process.

Engage

Engagement during the sunsetting phase is crucial, necessitating clear and continuous communication with all stakeholders—customers, internal teams, and investors. Vidyarthi underscores the importance of setting accurate expectations and maintaining transparency to facilitate a seamless transition. This aspect also encompasses managing technical and security implications, making strategic decisions about the product’s lifecycle, and ensuring that customer service teams are well-prepared to address any inquiries and concerns effectively. Stakeholders should be kept well-informed about the sunsetting plans from early on, allowing them to prepare and adjust without significant disruptions. Additionally, encouraging and valuing customer feedback provides essential insights that can enhance future products or the sunsetting process itself. Providing robust support during the transition helps customers migrate to other products or services, further easing the phase-out and reinforcing trust and satisfaction.

Bottomline

When executed proficiently, product sunsetting is a testament to a company’s dedication to responsible product management and customer care. As illustrated by Prasoon Vidyarthi, a well-managed product sunset can significantly enhance a company’s reputation and pave the way for future innovations.

About Prasoon Vidyarthi

Prasoon Vidyarthi is a recognized authority in product management, known for his significant contributions to the field, particularly in product sunsetting, cybersecurity for small businesses, and agile technology development. He is also an author of various product management frameworks, including the ACE framework for product sunsetting and the economic test for minimum viable product determination, which you can explore further in his publications on platforms like DZone. Vidyarthi frequently speaks at national and international forums and serves as a judge for prominent business awards. His experience spans various sectors, including banking, finance, telecom, and construction. His insights into product lifecycle management, especially in creating sustainable strategies within large enterprises, have set benchmarks in the industry.

RECENT STORIES

'₹50,000 A Month': Do Zomato & Swiggy Delivery Agents Earn More Than Software Engineers? Check To...

'₹50,000 A Month': Do Zomato & Swiggy Delivery Agents Earn More Than Software Engineers? Check To...

AMD Leverages AI To Shape Next-Gen Computing Experience; Eyes Emerging Markets

AMD Leverages AI To Shape Next-Gen Computing Experience; Eyes Emerging Markets

'Everyone Is A Taxpayer': Female Ethiopian Airlines Passenger Protests After Being Kicked Out Of...

'Everyone Is A Taxpayer': Female Ethiopian Airlines Passenger Protests After Being Kicked Out Of...

India Saw 54 Land Deals For 1,045 Acres In 1st Half Of 2024, Bengaluru Leads Mumbai

India Saw 54 Land Deals For 1,045 Acres In 1st Half Of 2024, Bengaluru Leads Mumbai

Mission ₹17,000 Crore: Mother Dairy Aims To Expand Turnover In FY25 On Better Demand: MD

Mission ₹17,000 Crore: Mother Dairy Aims To Expand Turnover In FY25 On Better Demand: MD