Mourning the Death of a Product

by Dominic Gadoury

What does one do to mourn the death of a product (or set of features)? In the “startup” space we all can build an experimental product, test it in the market, and then for one reason or another it is given the pink juice.

My husband is a therapist and probably would say to review the stages of grief and understand that each of them is normal:

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.

While I can personally attest to these stages, I think it is so important in the case of product management that we see death of a product as a success. Yes, the death of a product is not a failure – but instead was a set of learnings that help rule out at a specific place and time that for some reason the product wasn’t viable. What does this allow? It allows a product manager to pivot and explore a hypothesis that has a now greater chance to succeed.

When you have the death of a product or set of features, how do you mourn it? How do you choose to pivot? Let us know your thoughts…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.