A Sustainable, Stress-Free Product Development Model

There’s always a better way

Co-authored by Amanda Woo

Breathe deeply and engage your System Two thinking (Photo credit: Tim Goedhart)

When it comes to making our own lives hard, we neither lack the skills nor talent. When it comes to developing technology and software-based products, we are so creative at getting ourselves all knotted up. Before finishing our morning coffee, we can manage to go from a simple idea to complete rendition of Who’s on First?.

To save us all from those meetings were we feel that driving a pencil through own ear is preferable to another minute of repeating the same explanation, we’ve created seven sketches that explains a better way to develop tech and software-based products.

A very brief explanation, capturing our perspective follows each sketch, touching on enough of the key points to save a trip to the emergency room with a stuck pencil in your head. Later, we shall write more to elaborate on some of the more nuanced aspects.

A Diverse Team is Good

Criticide Universe — Product Development Model
  • A diverse team naturally generates alternative perspectives. This is a good thing.
  • Get and maintain a shared understanding. When team behaviours and attitudes originate from a mismatched understanding of the core product is, this is not good.
  • Seek to understand before attempting to be understood.

All About The Consumer

Criticide Universe — Consumer Viewpoint

Takeaways

  • Consumers want something that will in fact make their life better, not something that you tell them will make their life better.
  • Consumers are willing to pay a price which makes sense relative to the value your product offers.
  • Consumers expect you to be upfront with details about your product and its price.
  • Do not substitute your own opinions of pain and value, for evidence of what the Consumer actually considers is painful and valuable.

Stakeholder role done right, is never easy

Criticide Universe — Stakeholder Viewpoint

Takeaways

  • Stakeholders are only interested in the significant leading indicators of product growth and health, hence eliminate all irrelevant information.
  • Stakeholders can have only three levers ((i) Take an Exit, (ii) Clear a Roadblock or (iii) Increase/Decrease Funding), ensure that the data received directly supports decisions which exercises one of those options.
  • Stakeholders should engage System 2 and think critically about the provided information (eg. create a quantifiable model of a product’s life journey against some set boundaries and constraints.)
  • Stakeholders should never reach down into the operations of the development whilst wearing the Stakeholder hat.
  • Stakeholders put trust into the team and depend upon timely information concerning the big control points, of viability, product development inventory and benefit materialisation and realisation.

Producers Produce Powerful Insights

Criticide Universe — Producer Viewpoint

Criticide groups UX/UI designers, product owners and any other individual who helps bring a concept to life as the Producers.

Takeaways

  • Producers need to become tethered to the Consumer and remain tethered to them.
  • Producers need to find the way in which they can have the most significant positive impact on the Consumer’s reality which the consumer will value.
  • Producers use the Consumers Operating Model to find and quantify opportunities to provide benefits — engage System 2 thinking.
  • Producers work with Marketers to confirm that the consumer would value a candidate benefit.
  • Producers work with Implementers to devise different features that could materialise the benefit, collectively we pick the best feature to go forward with.

Marketers Measure Consumer Perceptions & Biases

Criticide Universe — Marketer Viewpoint

Criticide, Marketers are people are responsible for driving adoption and acquisition.

Takeaways

  • Marketers are aware of how the majority of Consumers would value benefits which a product could offer them.
  • Marketers should predict the Consumer response before capital and effort is invested to communicate with our Consumers.
  • When the consumer appears unreasonable in their expectations, Marketers should recognise this an indicator that the Consumer’s value equation is out of balance.
  • Marketers should have a consistent qualified model for how consumers value a product and how this dovetails into the Consumer Operating Model (maintained by Producer).
  • Marketers should always reconcile the Consumer response predictions with their valuation model and Serviceable Obtainable Market (S.O.M) Model. Thereby learning and producing better forecasts.
  • Revenue is an after the fact accounting of the outcomes for the Marketer’s efforts since they can control whom the product is offered to and how its offered.

Implementers

Criticide Universe — Implementer Viewpoint

Criticide groups engineers, product owners and any other individual who build and deliver the product as the Implementers.

Takeaways

  • Implementers main focus is to continuously and efficiently materialise benefits for the Consumer.
  • Like our perfect dumpling analogy, Implementers need to access Consumers to quickly elicit feedback and iterate in order to enable the Consumer to materialise the benefits they require (eg. a dumpling that they can’t get enough of).
  • Implementers should tune their productivity to allow for quick turnaround times.
  • Implementers entrust that Producers have given them the right starting point (eg. clear understanding of the problem to be solved).

Growing The Product & User Base

Criticide Universe — Product Evolution

Takeaways

  • Technology and software-based product development is about the journey, not the destination.
  • This journey needs to provide a continual stream of benefits (and hence value) to the Consumer and thus we are compensated for doing so.
  • Sustain the team’s focus on achieving the product’s mission successfully by each thinking critically, making rational decisions and prizing facts and evidence above opinions and biases.

Just Remember…

The misconception, that has fractured more development endeavours than I care to remember, is that a product is a destination in and of itself. This misconception arises from two sources.

Firstly, not decomposing products into discrete subunits of value is the hallmark of which is claiming that product has no value unless it is absolute and complete. If this were not a fallacy, we would never observe products evolving. Products would appear in the market, delivers a set of benefits and never improve on how those benefits materialised or would never add to those benefits. Experience should remind us that this is not true.

Secondly, enforcing the above complete and perfect delivery fallacy is the human tendency fall back on Linear Mechanical Thinking when we confronted with the complex or foreign. A successful product evolves into a living system, which has dependencies and interdependence within itself, its consumers and other systems to which it integrates. An evolution which happens over a period centred around the consumer’s reality.

The reality is that product development is a journey where we provide a continual stream of benefits to consumers. In doing so successfully on an ongoing basis, we are compensated with revenue and product growth.


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If you would like the high resolution version of the sketches from this article or have questions, contact us at hello@criticide.com.

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A little sneak peek of what’s to come:

  • Consumers: How does your product help me?
  • Stakeholders: How can we deliver to market faster?
  • Producers: How do we know our design will solve the problem before we invest more money?
  • Marketers: What is a reasonable investment for acquiring which customers?
  • Implementers: How much are defects costing our business in time and dollars?

The Perfect Dumpling Quest

Developing a software product is just like a making the perfect dumpling. Read More