Ian Reynolds discusses how to discover the right solutions for your customers and then deliver them quickly.
Many organizations, especially as people are trying to work in more Lean and Agile ways, work towards producing a minimum viable product (MVP) and move on after achieving it. These organizations aren’t thinking about the value that could be delivered after the MVP.
They believe that if they put a minimum viable products in our customer’s hands, they know whether or not it’s a great product. Instead, people need to be working towards a minimum viable business as opposed to the minimum viable product. You could put a great product out there, but if you haven’t designed it to solve for the customer’s ultimate needs by testing it and getting early feedback
and created a degree of stickiness in a business model that will help you retain and add clients, you have a problem.
You don’t necessarily have a business and you haven’t necessarily solved the problem. Over optimization towards what you believe to be a viable product is not necessarily that MvP. It’s a business model that’s going to have sustainability.
What’s Valuable to Customers
When you’re developing a product, the easiest person to fool is yourself. You may believe that you have a great product, but you need to test it to validate that belief. That could be as simple as using a survey to check the validity of your idea. Building a product (even a scaled-down version of a working product) is a very expensive way to test an idea.
If you build the product first and then try to go out in the market and then make the adjustments, you’re going to have to build it again.
There are two major inhibitors to speed to market. One is trying to do everything yourself. The desire to understand exactly how the product is built and have too much control over the process of building that product is not efficient.
When you’re building a product, it’s not reasonable to be so in the weeds that you’re concerned about using a specific technology or growing to an understanding of how everything works. When starting your business or starting your MVP, don’t try to have one person do everything. Have people that are specialized in their given fields and fractionally use their time.
The other big impact to speed to market is if you don’t have a needed skill set in house. Training that skill and building competency can take a long time. You don’t necessarily have to hire for it as that could be much more expensive than using an outside party.
Listen to the full episode to understand how to test and discover the right solution and how approaches such as DevOps can help accelerate both discovery and delivery.
First Tip: Look at what the biggest players in the market are doing in terms of their engineering culture and then figure out what is it that they’re doing efficiently that you can copy. Don’t try to invent things yourself or come up with a new process; figure out what they’re doing and just copy it.
Second Tip: Analyze the opportunity cost of doing something in-house versus using a third party by looking at what an outside party can do for you and what specialization they have. If they could solve the problem for you quickly, maybe they can do it much more cheaply.
Ian is the Chief Solutions Architect at Zibtek and Head of Venture Partners at Golden Section Studios. In his role as Solutions Architect, Ian matches business needs to technical solutions that solves the customer’s problem.
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