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A way of communicating thats a little more interesting and will get your message across better than the old spreadsheet table.

If you are involved in designing new products and services then you will be familiar with the process of ranking different design concepts using an objective method of assessing the relative importance of each design concept's features.  This type of analysis is critical to any trade off decision you need to make.  A handy way of visualizing the factors that go into the trade off decision is to use a Product Radar Chart.

More useful than a list of pros and cons, this process endeavours to comparably measure specific attributes with a view to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the options available through choice.  In applications of this approach, teams sometimes delegate weightings to the attributes with the aim of dermining the overall merit of each option.  Usually, you will end up with tables of numbers, weightings and totals.  The Product Radar Chart helps you more effectively communicate the results of the team's analysis.

Charting Success in Design

There are no rules to selecting the attributes you chart, but the elements in the example have been selected1 to differentiate winning and losing products with a focus on Customer Value.  

The Benefits

  • quickly identify mismatches between your current strategy and capabilities
  • make informed decisions about how product alternatives map align with the stategy and how they relate to customer value
  • make tradeoffs and communicate these decisisons to the stakeholders

What to watch out for

  • area scales as the square of the values and so the chart magnifies the effects of large values
  • relationships between neighbouring attributes can cause spurious connections when the attributes could be unrelated
  • useful only for small data sets 

How to make the Chart?

These charts can be created using general spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel or Google docs.

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 1. Carter, J., Bradford, J., Innovate Products Faster, 2012, p27.