Strong, popular products that users love are the result of hard work done by a ‘focused’ product development team. When teams lack this focus, the result is poor product development which is often slow and redundant, does not fulfill its value proposition, and causes customers to churn.
This article describes four concepts that can help your team move from good to great, and ultimately help you build awesome products that your users LOVE.
Remove isolated, organizational silos from your product development team
- Strong communication and collaboration fostered by the trust within cross-functional teams are key for harmonious product development that is truly agile.
Rigid organizational silos prevent teams from quickly addressing shared issues and does not promote sharing of knowledge, causing development issues/bugs that could have been easily avoided.
- Reducing team silos and associated behaviors can help ensure that the product vision and customer values are clearly understood by a decentralized, cross-functional team.
- This helps you and your team make important decisions in a timely manner. Implementing a RAPID framework helps teams understand who has responsibility for which parts of an important product decision.
Understand your market/customer/opportunity
- Ensure you and your team have a very clear understanding of the market/industry you are building within. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your key competitors will help you frame your product positioning and act as a yardstick for your product roadmap.
Local markets often have their own unique nuances — the closer you are to your market dynamic the better your product will serve them.
- Constantly engage with your target customer as well as the customers you hope to win over time. Validating your product ideas and roadmap directly with your customers will help quicken day-to-day decision making.
This will allow you to gather concrete fact-based evidence over subjective opinions.
- Never lose sight of the opportunity in hand! Keep on re-iterating the product opportunity to all those that you work with as well. A well-defined problem statement and focus on product opportunity as your ‘north star’ will help guide your product development team, especially when things are not going as planned.
Leverage design thinking/lean startup methodologies
- Be open to experimenting with your ideas before committing the bandwidth of your product development team. If the appropriate investigation is not done upfront on new ideas, your team could easily find themselves in a situation where they’ve spent a year developing something, only to find out once it's been built that your customers are not interested.
- If you are tackling product problems that are ill-defined or unknown, the design thinking framework would be a good tool to use as it’s an iterative process in which a team seeks to deeply understand its users, question assumptions, and redefine problems.
Doing so can help with identifying different strategies and solutions which might not have been apparent based on the team’s initial level of understanding.
The five non-linear stages of design thinking are: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.
Design comprehensive requirements and conduct constant product testing
There is a saying, “surprises only get more expensive if discovered later”. Framed another way, “product development is largely an exercise in uncovering surprises as quickly as possible.”
Developing clear and comprehensive requirements and consistently testing your product (i.e. resolving issues and bugs) is critical. This is so that the product you create is in line with what you envisioned your product to be letting your customers have a seamless experience, free of glitches.
Distilling complex concepts into “simple” requirements is an art form that helps to ensure that a diverse stakeholder base has the same understanding of a product’s important attributes.
Additionally, a military-like focus on tackling product-related bugs and reducing technical debt is important so that your product is performing reliably and is able to remain in a position for continued development.
These are just a few concepts you can apply within your product development team and transition from building a good product to a great one!
Delivering Value in Your Products
Value may be subjective. However, there are a few indicators firms can use to gauge value in a potential product.
Author — Pritom Paul, DLT Labs™
About the Author: Pritom is an experienced Business Analyst and product management professional who has worked on delivering global enterprise products, FinTech transformations, and innovative blockchain solutions. He enjoys staying abreast of current technological advancements and helping clients solve challenging problems. He is a Toronto Raptors fan and a classic car enthusiast.