Productization is typically thought about in the context of making the results of an R&D effort suitable for commercialization --- design for assembly, cost reduction, supplier optimization, manufacturing process design, QA procedures, UI optimization, and so forth. Product companies allocate many engineering resources and extensive calendar time to bring their products from the lab to their customers.
So how does this help when you're responsible for rolling out 1000 PC's across your enterprise, or deploying 200 digital signs at all of your retail locations, or hanging 30 projectors across your school campus?
During the specification and planning phase of your project, ask yourself some of the same questions that a product engineer might ask:
- How does all of the hardware and software fit together? Are there alternative components that could simplify or shorten the deployment tasks?
- What are the precise steps that must be taken by a field engineer to execute a single installation? How long does it take?
- When multiple configuration alternatives exist, what are the best practices and "best fit" for my environment?
- What skills and knowledge are required by the field engineer? Is it possible to simplify the field requirements via staging strategies and/or pre-configuration?
- Can any portion of the field installation be performed remotely?
- What are the detailed steps to fully validate and document that the installation is complete and fully functional?
- What are all the possible things that can go wrong during the installation (faulty network wiring, missing parts, physical access denied, . . .) and what is the most effective escalation strategy for each?
Applying the methodical thinking of a product engineer to your rollout projects sets you up for a consistent and repeatable field event with every location installed and tested to your standards. And at the same time you can get a leg up on controlling remediation situations before they ever happen.