When organizations think of building digital products, the need for a large product focused team is assumed. Many turn to third party options, as the plausible approach is to use third party software built upon the learnings of businesses who have solved similar issues. However, this may not provide the complete solution needed. Years of learning have allowed companies to build digital product tools to tackle problems surrounding customer relationship management, product inventory management, or even enterprise resource planning. Building on the historical education of successful companies has showed that the best products are the ones that are constantly innovating to provide new features.
So, how can organizations create their own innovative products, and in turn, create better solutions for their customers? Most importantly, how can companies build a product and continue to innovate without potentially overspending on ideas that may or may not be useful to their customers. The good news… all organizations can do this, and with the right tools, can do it well!
It all starts with finding the right value proposition as to why something needs to be built. From there, businesses can clarify and refine their vision to turn it into reality. In order to start, we’ll walk through three key concepts that just might provide a compelling reason to invest in building a successful digital product.
Whether you’re ready to move forward with the build or you’re still exploring, the ‘Discovery’ stage is a must. Align with the business and make sure that key parties and stakeholders know what problems will be solved by building the product. Ideally, one should look at the current state to understand how things have been done in the past to help business processes as a whole. Investigating standard technologies within the organization will be beneficial when taking stock on what will be the most valuable. Don’t forget to create long-term goals, specifically related to how a potential new product will be valuable to the organization.
Develop a business process which will be optimized to reduce the number of interactions, handoffs, and steps throughout the process. Next, convert that business process into a user experience and map, so that stakeholders can envision how their users will interact with a new system.
Discovery is an important stage as it helps answer two simple questions: ‘Do we really need to build this product?’ and ‘Why should this product be built?’ When done successfully, one should come out of Discovery with a few concepts to further explore.
Now that concepts are created, use the new business workflows to create and test interactive prototypes. This prototype serves as a bridge between understanding what NEEDS to be improved all the way, to HOW it can be improved.
Plan key interactions that stakeholders would like to see within a working prototype. This will allow the solicitation of feedback from stakeholders and end users. Example questions to ask can include… Is product usable? Is product useful? Obviously, lines of questioning can be altered depending on motivation for product.
Hopefully, when coming out of your Testing phase there is a functioning prototype which is built around key concepts learned in Discovery and validated directly with users. Now a plan can be built around an MVP solution of the product to achieve the goals solidified in beginning stages.
The initial concepts developed during Discovery and further refined within prototypes during Testing are now ready to be the core features for a new product. Create a plan to show the type of team needed to build the product. Typically, this will involve User Experience, Solution Architecture, and Product Ownership to start, and will grow into a larger team based upon needs for the product.
Creating a product backlog shows features needed for implementation and the high-level stories which drive development. When done correctly, the product backlog will also show value to others as to why this new product matters.
Building a new digital product is never easy, but it can be created in a structured and limited fashion to prove out its value early on. An accelerated approach for Product is what’s needed to identify the business concepts, test out the hypothesis with users, and plan for the initial product MVP.
Here at Strive, we take pride in our Technology Enablement practice, where we can assist you in your initial digital product development needs, all the way through to completion. Our subject matter experts’ team up with you to understand your core business needs, while taking a deeper dive into your organization’s growth strategy.