Eight tips on Whole Product management (from Crossing The Chasm ):
1. Use the doughnut diagram to picture the whole product. Shade in all the areas for which you intend your company to take primary responsability. The remaining areas must be filled by partners or allies.
2. Review the whole product to ensure it has been reduced to its mineral set. This is the KISS philosophy. It is hard enough to manage a whole product without burdening it with unnecessary bells and whistles.
3. Review the whole product from each participant's point of view. Make sure each vendor wins, and that no vendor gets an unfair share of the pie. Inequities heres, particularly when they favor you, will instantly defeat the whole product effort -companies are naturally suspicious of each other anyway, and given any encouragement, will interpret your entire scheme as a rip-off.
4. Develop the whole product relationships slowly, working from existing instances of cooperation toward a more formalized program. Do not try to institutionalize cooperation in advance of credible examples that everyone can benefit from it -not the least of whom should be the customers.
5. With large partners, try to work from the bottom up; with small ones, from the top down. The goal in either case is to work as close as possible to where decisions that affect the customer actually get made.
6. Once formalized relationships are in place, use them as openings for communication only. Do not count on them to drive cooperation. Partnerships ultimately work only when specific individuals from the different companies involved choose to trust each other.
7. If you are working with very large partners, focus your energy on establishing relationships at the district office level and watch out for wasting time and effort with large corporate staffs. Conversely, if you are working with small partners, be sensitive to their limited resources and do everything you can to leverage your company to work to their advantage.
8. Finally, do not be surprised to discover that the most difficult partner to manage is your own company. If the partnership really is equitable, you can count on someone inside your company insisting on taking a bigger share of the benefit pie. In fighting back, look to your customers to be your truest and most powerful allies.