As with software architecture, we spend a lot of time and energy creating the first release. In reality, however, most product development comes in subsequent releases. The primary changes to the product development process presented in the "Product Development Processes" Section are as follows .
The concept and product proposal are likely to be skipped . The value of the product proposal substantially lessens as a product matures. This is because there is less work associated with identifying and targeting a given market and more work associated with identifying how to acquire the next adopter segment (see below) or the next niche within a defined market. Rigorous companies may spend some time writing a product proposal, but this is usually foregone in favor of the MRD.
The business plan is, at best, updated to reflect the new release. The business plan that justified the initial development is often only marginally updated to reflect the new release. This is not a flaw but a reflection of its now higher-level, broader perspective.
The MRD becomes the central document of the release. The MRD, which in the first release captured only those features essential for entering the market, becomes the central document in a subsequent release. To understand why this is so, think of the product in its full context, which can be likened to an ecosystem and includes internal and external stakeholders (developers, QA, marketing communications, partners , customers, and so forth) as well as influencers (trade press, industry analysts, competitors , and so forth). The ecosystem of release 1.0 is likely to be relatively simple, especially for a technology product. The ecosystem of a successful product matures with it, and that associated with release n.n.n is usually considerably more complex. Furthermore, the needs of the constituent stakeholders are different, as described further below. The best document to capture these data for release n.n.n. is the MRD, not the business plan.
The prelaunch and launch phases vary significantly depending on the release. Depending on the release, the prelaunch and launch phases may be more important for release n.n.n than for release 1.0! Consider Microsoft promoting Windows XP, Apple promoting OSX, or Sun promoting Solaris 2.8. These launches were substantially larger and "more important" than the launch of their predecessors.