Andrew posted over here about the importance of a well thought out scope document for software product development.
I agree with Andrew but believe that all of what he said can be summed up readily in the concept of personae.
For those of you unfamiliar with them personae (most people would say personas but I am a pedant) strive to create a model of a product or service user. This model is created in such a way as to be representative of what a quintessential customer needs and wants, but without the “noise” that occurs when market surveys are undertaken.
My manufacturing business, Cactus, utilises personae for developing products and services and the personae models we created identified a need for separate brands for differing parts of our business. In another one of my roles I consult to designIndustry which delivers a personas course for businesses wishing to embrace the concept.
Personae were discussed at length in the seminal work “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” which is, or should be, compulsory reading for anyone working in the tech hardware of software space.
SaaS is a perfect example of the user-centric sort of product that is created with a successful development and implantation of personae.