"Innovation is saying 'no' to 1,000 things." — Steve Jobs
We’ve all felt it – that moment of surprise, followed immediately by disbelief, and ultimately a sigh of relief when a product truly surpasses our expectations. We pause for a moment waiting for the catch until we realize the company simply got everything right the first time. This is the customer experience we aim to help our clients achieve. Here is the TRACTION Product Development Methodology we use to guide innovators to product/market fit.
TRACTION PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGY
As an innovator it is easy to get distracted by the universe of possibilities and tasks related to building something new. By clearly defining the single problem you are dedicated to solving you can evaluate new opportunities quickly and stay focused on your end goal.
No matter what problem you choose to solve, having information gathering conversations with your target customers is the key to your success. Understand how they are trying to solve the problem now, what has worked, what has not, and why it matters to them.
Once you’ve confirmed that multiple people have the problem you want to solve evaluate the market. How many people make up your target audience? What other companies are trying to win this market? How much are people willing to pay for your solution?
The path to success becomes clearly illuminated with customer-driven design ideas when you take the time to listen and investigate upfront. Sift through the data you’ve collected and stack-rank user stories to create a product roadmap in a development collaboration tool.
Conscientiously crafting your minimum viable product is crucial. Identify the single task that initially generates the most value to your customer and design solely around this first experience. Less about visual appeal, focus instead on removing barriers to task completion.
The least expensive time to make mistakes is before you have written a line of code, created a mold, or purchased materials. Bounce your design mock-ups off a few target customers. What have you missed? Is the solution intuitive? Minimize waste by failing early.
Regardless of Lean, Agile, Scrum, Kanban or Waterfall, your job is to translate what you’ve learned to those that will be building your product. Optimize resources and empower the team by creating an open dialogue, ensuring they empathize with the customer’s pain too.
Up until now your idea has been completely conceptual. Now that you have a live, working product it is time to get it into the hands of your customers. Through the customer acquisition process identify your first early adopters and prepare for real-world feedback.
The best part about releasing a new product is enhancing it. There are always ways to improve and build upon your current offering. Take the time to assess opportunities, re-focus on the problem you set out to solve, and adjust your product roadmap accordingly.