An agile product development process is smart - but it does not yield a high return if you do not establish the right framework to ensure that time and resources are spent on building a product that users actually want. To maximize the probability of success in building products with an agile approach, employ these tips for a more strategic product development process that will deliver valuable product outcomes.
1. Mediocrity is the worst output
How often would you consider talking to your team about the outcome of the product development process? Although this thinking is not natural, it is crucial to enforce this mindset to your product team.
Outputs are service, products, revenue and profits, whereas an outcome is the value that your customer receives, which starts with understanding the challenges, issue and priority. Outcome drives output.
Traditionally, output was measured based on how much a team can produce. As a result, teams would only prioritize easy-to-build solutions in order to meet their output quota. There are no tools to measure and recognize outcomes, but you should never build products based on how much output can be produced.
By talking to your team about the risks in your assumptions and asking them what observations they have made and how it could fail, you are enforcing forward thinking and encouraging them to think of outcomes rather than output.
2. It's okay to say NO to feature requests
If you start building all the features that your customers or sales teams are requesting, then chances are you are building yesterday's product. For every feature clients or sales request, ask them why they need it.
It is critical that you understand the intent behind their requests and the need behind the features they are suggesting. Segment all the requests into Need Vs Want buckets and then create a hypothesis to validate the request. Following this process will help prioritize features that build tomorrow's product.
3. Compete with competitors, don’t compare
It’s tempting to implement a new feature that your closest competitor has just released. After all the products are similar, so what works for their clients will work for your, right? Wrong. Don’t look to competitors for product features. You don’t know what your customers want, and neither does your competitor.
Building features that competing products have - assuming that these features are what your customers want - only further validates your competitors decisions, not necessarily validating your own customers’ interests. Although you and your competitors might share similar target audiences, your competitor’s customer is different than yours.
Define your customer segment and understand what your customers are trying to accomplish especially when they have insufficient solutions with the available technology and service. Don't build features, instead build solutions that solve the actual problem.
4. Be transparent about product performance
Create transparency and accountability for your business so that everyone in the company understands how well or bad the product is doing. Sharing true metrics or values of product performance doesn’t mean you are giving too much information. It means making sure everyone feels responsible for those numbers and understand the role they place in the product’s performance.
By creating a culture of transparency and having an open and honest communication, you will realize and take action on insights before it's too late. Open the necessary information channels so that team can collaborate efficiently and take informed actions.