Measure product and process requirements.
During the Measure Phase, there are basically two things you are trying to understand:
What are the customer requirements and how are they currently being met?
What are the processing requirements for my product?
Keep in mind that this is just a measuring phase. People tend to want to analyze and solve problems while they are measuring. Staying focused on just measuring will allow you to see the big picture before you start taking action. This can prevent you from wasting time pursuing things of lesser importance.
You won't be successful making a product that nobody wants. Take time to discover what your target customers want. This can be done through surveys, market reports, evaluating customer reviews or forums, etc. Look for met and unmet needs; praises and complaints. You want to know what customers are currently getting and what they wish they were getting. Measure these things! Make lists, graphs, matrices, etc. There are many tools that can be used to do this; details of some tools will soon be found in our blog.
Also look at your competition. What are they offering? You don't do this to try to copy their product but rather to understand what customers are already expecting to get. Look at what customers like and dislike about the competitors and their products. Is there something they want that they aren't getting? Can you fill that gap?
Although you don't have a finalized product design at this point in the project, you will still have some general ideas about processing requirements. You'll revisit/revise processing requirements later, but it can be helpful to begin thinking about these things and measuring them during this phase. For example, if you're creating a product that will require a custom mold, you need to know how much it will cost to get a mold made and how long it will last. If it doesn't fit in your budget, you know you're going to need to figure out a different solution in the Analyze Phase.
When you feel like you have an accurate picture of what is required for creating an amazing product, you're ready to start analyzing!