Module 4 — Developing Products & Building an MVP (minimum viable product)

We were asked to unpack problems that are relevant to our surroundings or current work environment. Being in the clothing industry it was a very easy task. We encounter problems that potentially cost hundreds of thousands of Rands or your credibility with the small base of customers on a daily basis. There is such a long supply chain that something will inevitably go wrong during the 4 month cycle from development to delivery of new product. It’s how you manage the risk, kick into resourceful mode and find a solution on the fly that matters. The communication with your customer is priority. Honesty builds trust.

What module 4 highlighted was that whatever business you are in, it’s the strength of your process that will determine the success of the business. Making everyday actions invisible and adding procedures that are not cumbersome as you revisit and refine that process. This was evident in a number of the source videos we viewed. The Design Kit was a very useful tool which I have downloaded for future use.

Roadmapping was a term I had not used before and describes an outline of short term and long term processes vital to building a product with value to the customer. As a result I have rewritten each team members’ role and highlighted its importance. Everybody is exposed to feedback, both negative and positive.

The difference between a customer and a consumer, we kind of all know the definitions but this module further refined the understanding of the roles of each.

Building an MVP on a macro level relevant to the industry I am in would be defined by our core values when dealing with clients. Reliability, quality, price and innovation are the key ingredients. Ethics forms the basis of all these traits. The business will grow if the customer trusts you and your product. Making a sample or prototype of an item that you predict is going to trend massively is our form of MVP. This is addressed constantly and is not just one product. It’s seasonal and updates are required as soon as the first style shows signs of success. Give the customer more of what they want. Offer variations of the same thing to other customers with an entry, middle and higher cost. Broadening your hit rate. Act fast and frequently. Get on top of new fabrics, colours and treatments that keep that core product exciting. Value propositions were echoed and that which I hear constantly from expressive buyers, “need, want love!!” The roles of a good product manager were discussed in depth and this really inspired my learning and became relevant to my current practices.

As Aaron Schildkrout states: “There are a myriad of great ideas but great execution is a rarity”