7 Things You Need to Know Before Building a New Digital Product

(Sorry for the clickbait headline, but it’s important you know this)

Building a living, breathing product can be daunting from the outset. You and your team may have a strong vision for your product, but how do you execute today to reach that vision?

Before you begin sprint planning, roadmapping, and coding, use the checklist below to start your product off on the right foot.

1. Know your problem

It is critical to know the problem that you’re trying to solve before you start building a solution. Too many teams begin creating a new product without clearly identifying or understanding the problem they’re solving. Here’s a tip: Make sure you can state the specific pain point in one sentence.

2. know who needs your Product

Ask yourself if the product fulfills a human need that exists in the world. Your product must solve a problem for people. If you don’t know who those people are your product will ultimately fall flat. Seems like a ‘duh’ statement, but it’s an issue that product teams often wrestle with far into the product build.

3. Establish one team captain

This person is typically called the “product manager.” Establish this key decision-maker and make sure they are in that role early on — they are critical to the success of the project. Having more than one person calling the shots day-to-day can create tire-spin which wastes valuable time and resources (read: cash).

4. Establish the team

A product is not a project. Where project teams build well-defined solutions, the best product teams are testing, learning, and adapting as development progresses. That’s why products require dedicated team members who are willing and able to work on it long-term. Each team member must know their role and understand how their skills and personality can best complement the rest of the product team. The difference between a middling product and a truly innovative experience is a team that’s clicking on all levels.

5. Adopt a central process

A product will inevitably move, change, and take many shapes before it actually launches. Make sure everyone is on the same page with the framework you will be using to build out the product and take it to market. Having trust in your product team and enough patience to let the team discover the right path forward is a must.

6. Understand the pace

Moving quickly means nothing without a sustainable pace. Products are not something that “end” with the calendar year. To build something that people love, you have to establish a marathon pace that focuses on delivering more value to the consumer every day. You’ve heard before that sprints help a product team build and deliver value as quickly as possible — but without a clear vision of the horizon, the team will waste valuable time reworking the product and eventually lose all momentum.

7. Accept that you don’t know everything

Like any living, breathing creature, products are constantly growing and changing. It’s imperative that you do not become too attached to your initial product vision. To avoid that, stay focused on the problem you’re trying to solve. By focusing on the problem, and not any one solution, you keep your mind open to new possibilities as you navigate the twists and turns on the road to a successful product.

As our world becomes more software driven, it stands that businesses will depend on new digital products more and more each day. Creating a quality digital product depends on understanding how to approach the problem at hand and how to get the most out of your team. By understanding these key areas, your product team will be able to respond to any challenge and create an amazing consumer experience.

Lab Notes is a publication of GoKart Labs

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