I am often asked by the client in the beginning of a project to get things right so that when a product launches it doesn’t need to be reinvented it later. My short answer to this question is you can never get it totally right in the beginning. But what I also believe is if we have the “right” product strategy with the right expectations we can go a long way to getting it right. But what do I mean by the “right” product strategy? This would be strategy with an emphasis on heavy brainstorming, persona development and a competitive analysis in order to ensure we are focusing on building the right product right from the start.
Clients can often come to us with a vision but not necessarily fully formed ideas nor the research into the actual product landscape. This is totally fine and it leads to the right product strategy with tons of brainstorming. We want to birth this vision into tangible goals and then apply those goals in the digital space. The brainstorming helps to ideate products to the place where we can then build something tangible and concrete. This is often called “product-driven thinking.”
For example a while ago a client came to us with an idea for building a mobile app for proximity payments – however as we talked more about the concept we knew this space was already dominated with square and venmo just to name a few. But we took this initial idea of proximity and pivoted to focus on the charity and political donation space. A much more opportunistic product was then the focus there hasn’t been much traction for mobile apps in this space. How did we get there? We talked about the application of their vision, we highlighted mobile apps that were in the proximity space and we brainstormed additional applications where they could apply their vision. We then spent a lot of time formulating both the customer journey and product roadmap for donation based proximity app. From there we could to see the skeleton of a mobile application that fulfilled this vision to meet the needs of the political donor and could be a player in the marketplace for political donations. This was all before any wireframing or design work was done.
And we know this was only the beginning – after designing the app we need to test it and get feedback then adjust the design accordingly. Once we get the MVP built its the same situation where we need to get user feedback and adjust accordingly so we have the best product out there.
So can you get it right in the beginning? So there are 100’s of factors that affect this beyond the product itself but you never know until you execute. But if you also believe in the lean startup where you build,measure and learn this goes a long ways into getting it right. Welcome to the startup world!