Product Management for XR- Planning the Product Development Journey

Aditya Garg
Published in
6 min readAug 30, 2022


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In the last article, we read about Product Management in XR and the different use cases that it can have. It also talked about different categories the applications can be bucketed into that can help in refined brainstorming of solutions.

In this second article, I’ll share thoughts on the journey of XR products. Before just picking and starting developing one should think out loud about what to build, why and how to build. Clarity of the journey from ideation to developing and learning is one of the primary aspects of product thinking.

But before starting, one of the common questions from XR aspirants i.e

Which is better when doing Product Management in XR - being an XR specialist or a generalist?

Being an emerging tech, a specialist is helpful to start quickly and grasp things easily. The person understands the depth, various aspects, possibilities, limitations and technology thus boosting up overall solution.
But this comes with the drawback of having a bias. High chance that specialists will push conventional learning into practice. They might see every problem as an AR/VR problem which we don’t want, as discussed in the first article. A generalist comes with a fresh perspective. They may start slow and face challenges but they see the world with not just AR/VR lens but maybe with first principles like why this problem exists in the first place. The so-called disadvantage can be turned into a superpower.

Once the person is part of it, there will be inevitable challenges that they’ll be facing. Some can be generic product problems but it extends further because it is an XR environment. Hence the journey can be well ideated, planned and implemented.

Research and identify the problem

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Kickstart with identifying the problem. It can be anything from revolutionary like in healthcare to just for fun like filters. Either you already have an idea that needs XR so skip or else find your inspiration. Multiple sources like observing people around, attending meet-ups, studying the existing apps, platforms like Product hunt, and social media. There is a plethora of problems, what interests you and you think can be solved is the question. Another point to be focussed on is to understand the existence of the problem and does it need XR or if there are other simple alternates as well.

As mentioned earlier- The objective is not to introduce XR to users but to solve their problems.

Pick your platform (AR/ VR/ MR)

Once you are sure that the problem needs an XR solution and I stress again being absolutely sure, then the next is to pick your land i.e on what platform you want to build your solution.
> If in your solution user needs to see the real world as well- AR
> If in your solution user needs to be fully immersive- VR
> If in your solution user needs to see the real world and also interact with virtual objects- MR

With each experience comes their respective software and hardware that you’ll have to use for your solution. For VR, you can use Unity or Unreal engines and have to build inside VR headsets. On the other hand in AR you can use Unity engines, no-code tools and build for mobile devices, smart glasses or even MR headsets.

Identify your early adopters

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This is crucial especially in XR as you need quick feedback. You’ll need users who are aware of this tech, excited to experience it and can give useful and quick feedback. It can be anyone from VR/AR games users to employees from corporate to professors teaching. They should be ridiculously dedicated to testing because in XR you mostly do not make cater to a very general use case but specific ones.

Feedback can be through working prototypes, questionnaires, checking user flow for a task, comfort or in general usage and experience. Early adopters will save you tons of rework and channel efforts on features that the user needs and are not just a fad.

Start small, quick feedback loops

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In emerging tech things change very frequently. You may start building something using software or for any headset and within some time before you complete it, the software or hardware is completely updated. This pushes you to reiterate your solution.

To avoid this, build small pieces of tasks. Build, get them tested, deliver and get their feedback quickly. This ensures that your work does not go for a toss and if any major update comes you can easily pivot. Have an iterative approach and add features in small pieces.


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Depending on your solution’s target group it can be for enterprise(B2B) or end customers(B2C). Both distributions have their respective channels that you can opt for when planning for an XR solution.

For enterprises, you can identify the target use case and directly engage with a business like training, product designing etc. If you have an existing product portfolio you can also upsell or cross-sell XR products. Additionally, contracts with hardware manufacturers are also a way to go about it.

For B2C, you can consider channels like application stores which come with their respective guidelines. If you are experimenting and have your early adopters who trust you then even manual sideload is a way to go. In case you are looking to open source it then uploading to platforms like Github can be considered.

Always plan how the adoption, experience, retention, and frequency of usage will happen. XR is a device that might show a spike and become a fad, so ensure that it gets in the user’s existing process and is not just a nice-to-have.

Integration and adoption

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This is also very important in XR as it might sound like a mere solution for the Product Manager but for a user, this is new, a different tech, different hardware, and a different experience.

XR has a learning curve before the user adopts it and makes it part of their day-to-day process.

Hence user empathy is very crucial.

For enterprise users try understanding how the solution fits into their existing processes, how it is used by their users/employees, how they get support when needed and how relevant the use case and the value proposition are to their business. You’ll also need to handle the contract, legal limitations and security of their sensitive data.

For B2C end users try to understand how smoothly the solution fits in their daily life for the use case you have identified. Remember that type of hardware, discomfort, new tech, and environment, all are friction points for product adoption.

Product adoption has different stages and we’ll discuss it in depth in the next article. Majorly user gets introduced to your solution through marketing and distribution channels. Once they know it they should be able to experience it. Since it's XR, hardware, content, and environment might play a role in causing friction. AR is relatively easy to experience as compared to VR and MR because it can be experienced on mobile itself unlike headsets in VR/MR. Once the user identifies a value that they’ll perceive they might consider your solution. Again since XR, be cautious that the usage is not just a fad but they use it as a tool and see some utility. This will engage and retain them.

Multiple reasons like new tech, niche use cases, new experiences and different ecosystems make the product journey different for XR.

While considering XR products, the above pointers can help you in preparing a journey that can be planned and implemented as you move forward with the solution.