We currently live in the Digital Revolution, which has brought us electronics, telecommunications, computers, and the internet. And the internet brought us social media, which has an intuitive, friendly, and optimal user experience. Plus, the internet gave us the Cloud, a way to store data using the digital highway. And now we have full mobility to work wherever and whenever we want. This mobility proved to be really helpful during the current COVID situation when most office workers across the globe had to work from home. And it is quite impressive how some industries adapted quickly to the pandemic by using software and cloud forms to create new processes and continue their operations.
No one knows how long we have to adjust our previous working habits to the new normal. Nor do we expect to return to the same pre-COVID situation once the virus is no longer harmful. Meaning that whenever we create a new software product or add-on, it needs to be a modern digital solution. Great user experience and for some business solutions enabling remote working. Even if you are giving a facelift to an olden goldie to extend its lifecycle, it needs to resemble a modern solution. 5 steps or principles help you focus on the right features, get the best time-to-market at the lowest cost, and give the best experience. If you happen to take a wrong turn, you will find out quickly and adjust in time. The steps are all based on Lean Enterprise and Lean Startup methods and fit the agile way of working.
Now you would think that it is so evident that it would be an open door, right? But there are still too many internally generated ‘good ideas’ that have not been validated with customers or end-users. The fact that an established software company has a customer base is a great advantage over startups. Startups start from scratch, using the latest and best technologies. But established companies can test ideas, listen to customers, and find out what they really need, co-creating new features or add-ons. You can create new products based on validated market demand.
Validate frequently with your users. When creating new products, add-ons, or features, create them lean. Add small new pieces of functionality each time. You want to eliminate waste by only developing that functionality that is needed and deliver it as fast as possible. The product is designed, implemented, and tested incrementally (a little more is added each time) until it is finished. The team learns continuously and can apply their learnings to each new cycle. Frequently test the new small elements with your SIG (Special Interest Group) or with leading customers.
Continuously check your product course. This is a structured correction course or a shift to a new strategy. You may want to use a different technology for building your product or focus on a different set of customers. There are several reasons to pivot, which you can read here. That way, you can correct your course quickly because if concerns a smaller element and you have regular checks. Then a ‘misser’ doesn’t have that much impact in the process, especially not if you pivot to a new course.
When you create a new digital solution for your market, make sure you invest in great user experiences. The look and feel and ease of use of the product will significantly impact your solution’s adoption rate. Plus, if your product is based on recognizable features used in consumer platforms, it will be easier to use, and companies don’t need to spend much time and money on training their staff.
When companies built their solutions 20 even 40 years ago, they had no idea how quickly the technical and digital revolution would change. We now know better, and we aim to create products that can be adapted to fit future needs. This makes a solution more valuable as you can change it over time. Having periodical health-checks and addressing the issues timely can save you more (costs and customers) than when you wait until your solution has lost its elasticity, and you have to take action.
In the following articles, we will share client cases and our knowledge of creating modern digital solutions. We will highlight some of our solutions that may help you with creating such modern software products. If you have questions or would like to know more about this subject, please feel free to reach out to me.
During our Yonder 25 anniversary year, we looked back on how the software world has changed during those years. If you like diving back in time, here is part one, part two, and part three of the series.