Guidelines for Accomplishing a Competitive Analysis on Feature Level
Goal of this document:
This guideline set assists intergration-Teams (i-Teams) to accomplish a competitive analysis (CA).
i-Teams, Project Leads, Specification authors / readers (Marketing, Development , Quality Assurance, User Experience, Documentation)
Who decides to make a CA?
The i-Team decides if it is necessary to make a CA on feature level.
As a rule of thumb - making a CA makes sense,
- if the to be specified feature has to follow work flows users expect from other applications, or
- if the to be specified features targets a competitors' features in a special area.
When do I need to make a CA?
- The CA needs to be completed before the feature specification work starts
What are the benefits of making a CA?
- All i-Team members are getting the same level of feature knowledge.
- The whole i-Team gets an overview of what currently "State-of-the-Art" is.
Which products should be compared?
- This depends on the feature area. - For example, if you need to specify an IDE related feature compare Visual Studio, Netbeans and Eclipse.
- In case of improving an existing feature it also makes sense to compare the older version of OpenOffice.org to the feature which has to be specified.
How many products should be compared?
- The minimum is one, but in general it makes sense to compare 2-3 products.
What to address in your CA?
- List the strengths and weaknesses of the feature from the customers viewpoint.
- List precisely the product name, the product version and the products language.
- Compare the workflow of competitors' feature with yours.
- Understand the way how the feature works in the competitors' product.
- The product help of the competing product is in general good source for this
- Compare the terminology used in the competing product with the OpenOffice.org terminology.
- Measure the performance of the competitors' feature.
- A CA is "living" document. Your CA should be updated, if a feature changes in the competitors' product.
- The CA level of detail depends heavily on the feature requirement(s).
- Do not include just a collection of screen shots!