“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ― Jez Humble, Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale
Typically, a new digital venture or app starts when the founder has an idea. The development team implements it and the company launches without ever determining if this tool will solve a real problem for employees or customers. Unfortunately, 42% of businesses fail because they just don’t meet the market need.
Before starting a new digital venture, software product, or application, you must perform discovery sessions to determine your business goals and the market need you’re filling. Then, you can decide the best solution to these problems and opportunities.
Let’s discuss the importance of discovery sessions and design sprints to evaluate new initiatives before they begin to avoid development issues and - most importantly - building things that don’t need to be built.
What Does Software Product Discovery Entail?
In this early stage, start by understanding the business goals and performing market research to determine what your user’s goals and needs are. Once these goals are understood, you can begin to evaluate your idea and its possible implementation.
The initial phase will involve research and outlining of business goals, user requirements, existing resources, competitor analysis and market conditions. With these in mind, it’s time to work with a team of developers to create a product roadmap. This will help you analyze which features your solution should have, which technology stack to use, and what teams will be needed to complete the digital venture.
How to Run a Discovery Session and Create a Roadmap
The discovery phase can generally take several weeks depending on the complexity of your problem or proposed digital venture. While this may seem like a long time to delay product development, it will save you an incredible amount of time in the long run by avoiding project delays. The process includes:
Understand your business and market. What customer need can you solve? What is your company’s unique value proposition that can solve that problem better than anyone else?
Agree to a long term goal for your digital venture. This means beginning with the end result in mind. You may want an effective e-commerce app which will increase sales for your business or an internal solution for improving supply chain management. You and the team will speak through problems, chat and build on ideas. Together, we will help you toward building an effective product.
Brainstorm solutions with a design sprint. Google Ventures has a five-day process they use to quickly solve critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing new ideas. After determining the main business problem, sketch out competing solutions on paper. Next, turn these potential ideas into a testable hypothesis which you can immediately turn into a high-fidelity prototype. By the end of the process, you’re ready to test your solution on actual users.
Move on to creating UI wireframes, UX visual diagrams and outlining technical requirements. This is a prototype of your mobile application. This prototype is a clickable interface which will be put on trial by your potential customers. In a design sprint, each member of the team will be able to test the design, gaining insight into how the app will be used.
Determine budget and team requirements. Based on the digital venture you’d like to move forward with, it is time to determine what resources you will need - and can afford - to devote to the project. By waiting til this stage to finalize your team, you can put together the experts and team structure specifically tailored to the needs of this project. This also holds true for your budget. While budgets were most likely discussed in the initial discovery sessions to gain a deeper understanding of your business, now is the time to determine what budget is appropriate and accessible based on the expected ROI of the venture.
Create development timelines. The next stage of the product lifecycle involves setting short and long term goals and KPIs to develop the roadmap of your digital product. These timelines can then be split into the specific sprint planning and benchmarks that will see your project through to completion.
Testing will help you to move forward, validating the decisions which you have made so far. Customer feedback will create insight into how your app will be effective and where it might need improvements. Monitor and interview users for customer insights.
By taking the time to properly explore business and user needs and develop your app accordingly, you will prevent your app from being left on the shelf or from losing steam halfway through the development process. By taking part in design sprints, drawing on an expert team to assess your market and designing with the end user in mind, your app will fly. Contact 923digital today to learn more about our product discovery process.