Auriga, a custom software development services provider, participated in the European Medical Device & Diagnostic Strategic Product Development Virtual Conference at the end of May 2021. Andrey Shastin, Auriga’s Head of Global Business Development in the medical and embedded systems domains, moderated the round table discussion on aligning upstream and downstream product management methodologies and activities. The discussion participants included Hamilton Medical, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Getinge, Hocoma, and Smiths Medical.
The conference was focused on two product management functions: upstream and downstream. Both are important for product success: upstream processes refer to the activities related to define the product and create a unique value proposition, while downstream refers to the product promotion. Upstream product management sessions covered mainly bringing a new product to the market: product launch planning, product positioning, and innovation during the global Covid-19 crisis. Downstream product management sessions provided an overview on how to improve usability and prolong the product life cycle by harnessing the customer’s voice and responding to customer requests for new features.
Ideally, one product manager would perform both upstream and downstream activities, and it might work well for some companies. However, prominent market players with multiple product lines typically have two separate groups of managers differently motivated and thinking. While one group is R&D-oriented, willing to innovate for a better future, another group is customer-oriented, prioritizing actual user needs. The round table led by Auriga showed that ensuring the alignment between these two perspectives is a challenge that companies need to overcome to deliver high-quality products faster.
Andrey Shastin commented on his participation in the event:
I enjoyed the conference, primarily because of the great group of professionals who openly shared their thoughts and insights at the round table. Relevantly, the discussion touched specific, practical challenges that Auriga customers face in their work, such as evaluating technical feasibility and performance of new device functionality and revitalizing retiring products. As we usually participate in upstream and downstream activities, sometimes for a single customer, we know firsthand that a lack of approach intersection may hinder the opportunity to develop software more consistently and maintain a higher level of product quality that medical device manufacturers absolutely cannot compromise.
When aligning upstream and downstream product management efforts, communication, cooperation, and synchronization between two groups of managers gain greater importance. Efficient decision-making, requirements management, and task prioritization become critical. However, there is no silver bullet to tackle the problem because effort alignment depends on the industry trends, company’s business focus, product stage, and type, and adopted project management methodologies. We will further look into this challenge to help our healthcare and other domain customers to develop software solutions that meet stringent market standards and stay up-to-date over time.
Auriga accumulates 18+ years of medical software development and testing experience repeatedly acknowledged by customers and industry experts, such as the IAOP®. The company is ISO 13485 certified and runs eight R&D and testing labs for medical devices in Eastern Europe. Explore our online portfolio of medical device and digital health projects, or contact us directly to learn more about Auriga’s services.