Product development

From technological innovation to product development

Technological innovations are in no short supply. New cool ideas and products are popping up everywhere, but what makes for a good product? Or better yet, how to assess what your target group actually needs and thus what product will actually work? And how do you actually start developing your cool new product? In a series of blogs on product development I will share my thoughts from a team and user perspective.

Test the waters

Creating a business model canvas should be your starting point. In general it shouldn’t take you more than a one-pager in order to have something to pitch to your potential target group. All too often you see eager entrepreneurs buzz through this first step so they can get to the actual realization of their new idea. However its of the utmost importance to have an initial check whether or not there’s any market for your particular idea at all. With your business model canvas in mind, try reaching out to as many potential customers as possible and pitch your idea(s) to test the waters. Skipping this step might result in a lot of headaches later on. Maybe you weren’t too far off, but your target group was actually looking for something that in its core was something completely different. For example at Zoom Media we worked on a mobile application which people could use to transcribe whatever they said in real-time. However mobile applications weren’t that ‘hip’ anymore (after all how many do you have left on your mobile?). So we had to rework the idea and start working on a desktop application – optimized for mobile use – that users would find helpful. If you’re certain it could work it’s time to start planning. Create your product development strategy, roadmap and backlog to kick off your actual technically innovative process.

Discuss

Have a broad discussion with your team. How a team is composed obviously differs from company to company, but let’s say you work according to the Agile/Scrum method. Your team should consist of a Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master to get the discussion going. The Product Owner functions as a link between the client and the team and should safeguard the idea of the product that is to be developed. The Scrum Master makes sure the whole team follows the process and the Development Team agrees which team member will work on what task to eventually deliver a first version. Is everybody in accordance of what idea is envisioned? Does everybody has a clear idea of the user story behind it? If yes, then it’s time to plan and create.

Plan and Create

First of all, the team needs to discuss what Roadmap to follow. Determine together what the project name will be, what the goal of the project is, what features should be delivered, with what metrics those features can be checked and at what the release date will be. Put all elements on your backlog and once this is done start creating your (two) weekly sprints.

Now all the above is a broad overview of – obviously – much more complex processes. Ideally you would take these steps each time and launch a new product without facing any issues, the reality unfortunately is a bit trickier. For example, often enough I myself notice that not everybody thinks alike. It might look like everybody is on the same page, but later on in the process it turns out that one or more team members had something really different in mind when the initial product idea was discussed, thus certain steps that were taken shouldn’t have been taken or at least in another way, which as a result cost time and resources.

In the blogs on technological innovation and product development to follow I will get more in depth with regard to all the steps and processes shortly described or mentioned above. A lot of ground to cover so bear with me, and in the meantime feel free to get in touch on the subject. Just send me an e-mail right here!

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