What is MGPP?
Multi-Generational Product Planning
And why every product manager should learn how to use MGPP to improve product line strategies and development efforts.
MGPP stands for Multi-Generational Product Plan. Some practitioners replace the word “product” with the word “project.” And some may change “plan” to “planning,” switching the acronym from a noun to a verb.
MGPP is an approach managers use to set the features to be developed in a product. It defines a development project’s scope.
The approach also requires teams to compile those features not included. The teams then judge the unused features for use in future products. The control of features helps teams to avoid project scope creep and its negative results.
Multi-generational planning enables teams to gain two significant benefits. And both gains result from avoiding scope creep. First, they can develop products faster. And second, they prevent cost overruns.
It is proper to think of a “minimum viable product” (MVP) as the first potential generation of a product. But even though it may be possible to make the MVP the first generation, it may not be wise. Often, managers find that adding select product features beyond the MVP may speed market diffusion and fend off competitors.
Product line strategies may also apply MGPP to platform-lever. It is not just for a single product. MGPP for platform-levers enables whole product lines to advance with technology and market changes. You’ll see most high-tech companies use MGPP for platform-levers to drive their product lines.
There are many definitions of the MGPP acronym (see HERE.) And some don’t relate to products or product lines. As you build MGPP practices, it’s often helpful to spell out the acronym’s meaning. Don’t assume your audience or colleagues understand it.
Adding MGPP Skills
Carrying out multi-generational planning demands more than learning a method or technique. It needs companies to build the discipline to step back from making the best possible product or platform-lever. This may be counter cultural within some companies.
Instead, managers must have the discipline to say “no” to potential features. And they must do this even when feature requests have strong political backing.
The approach is not to kill the extra features. Instead, the approach is to move the extra features to future product generations. But to do this job and make the needed decisions, managers must clearly understand MGPP and a product line’s strategy.
Companies skilled in MGPP are better able to carry out smart product line strategy moves. The goal is to deliver, over time, greater customer benefits, to drive improved free cash-flow, and to fend off competition.