How to build your digital product for growth
Unlocking more efficiency and improved customer service in your organisation is driven by digital transformation and innovation. A good digital experience goes beyond your website, and organisations with the strongest approaches to digital are thinking about how digital products can enhance their strategy.
As your organisation grows and evolves, and the needs and expectations of your customers and users change, you want to ensure your product is keeping up. This ensures you’re getting the most out of your investment, as well as continuing to provide an elevated digital experience.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can create a framework and foundation to get a digital product built that’s ready for growth. This will include:
- How a discovery sprint will help to set clear objectives and build a development roadmap
- Selecting the right project methodology and how this helps you continuously improve
- Considerations around technical strategy/architecture and how this helps you in the long run
- The importance of putting in place ongoing maintenance and development for your digital product
Discovery: Setting the Foundations for Growth
The most successful digital projects start with discovery. Discovery helps digital product studios like Adaptable identify the pain points, needs and objectives of your organisation and your users and customers in order to guide your digital strategy. Through conducting a discovery sprint, you’ll get a clear plan – not just for the development and delivery of your digital product, but also for future iterations, versions and improvements. Having this long-term mindset at the very beginning of the project helps you put the building blocks in place for future growth. Additionally, the discovery process helps you uncover the best technical approach and strategy for your digital product – which will become really important when it comes to growing and scaling (more on that later).
Leveraging the Right Project Methodology
Once you have a clear strategy and plan in place for your digital product – how it’s developed and delivered becomes just as important, particularly if you have your eye on future growth. There are two common ways of approaching product development: waterfall and agile. Agile tends to be our preference, and we’ll get on to why shortly.
To give a very brief overview of the differences between the two methodologies:
- The waterfall methodology involves a set of linear, sequential tasks, completed in a clearly defined and rigidly enforced order – usually, one phase can not begin until the previous phase has been completed/received final approval.
- The agile methodology takes a more iterative approach, where development is broken down into featured-based chunks and releases, completed over a shorter period of time. This enables continuous improvement through more frequent releases and ensures that any issues are addressed quickly and in isolation from the rest of the project.
Our digital product development projects follow the agile methodology- kicking off with a discovery sprint and then proceeding with continuous sprint-based development and release cycles.
In the long term, the agile methodology is a better fit for delivering continuous improvement – as each sprint is flexible and adaptable in terms of the focus and the work being completed. It also means that new features and improvements are delivered faster, enabling you to keep delivering tangible value.
The Importance of Your Technical Strategy in Enabling Growth
As we mentioned in the section about discovery – having the right technical approach from the outset is especially important in ensuring your digital product is built for growth. If you select a platform, framework or architecture for your product at the outset which reflects only where you are now, and doesn’t leave room to get where you want to be, you’ll end up spending more time and money in the long run to adapt and evolve it. This is where you’ll likely need support from an external partner like Adaptable – who’ll be able to distil your overarching strategy and objectives into clear goals and deliverables, and then suggest the best way to achieve these. This will include clear consideration around your product’s roadmap, and how the architecture behind it will scale and grow with your requirements.
Technical Strategy in Action
A recent example of the importance of getting the right technical strategy in place was for one of our website projects. During the discovery phase, we identified that the client not only needed to process a lot of data from complex integrations via the website, but they would also have a requirement in the near future for a customer-facing portal referring to the same data streams. So that we could ensure the website and the portal (once it was developed) could sit on the same domain, and provide a seamless experience for the user, whilst also handling massive amounts of complex data without compromising on performance, we built the website in a headless environment to enable this.
Securing Ongoing Support
Launching a digital product is a significant investment of time, resource and budget. You’ll want to ensure it’s continuing to deliver value, and that the quality of the experience is never compromised, and always improving. To do this, you’ll need to make sure from the outset that you have a plan in place for the ongoing support and development of your product. This gives you access not only to both proactive development and maintenance – helping you to keep working on things along with quickly identifying issues within your platform and addressing them before they arise. Development plans will also give you access to ongoing project management, and guaranteed development time and allow you to incorporate things like user feedback and testing into the iterative improvements of your product.
Growth is a vital part of the strategy around your digital product(s). Approaching a development project with a growth mindset from the beginning helps to ensure you’ve built a foundation for continuous improvement, and that you end up with a product that can evolve with you.
- Discovery is a vital step in the process of developing your digital product. It’ll help you set objectives, get a technical strategy in place, and build a roadmap to get started.
- Agile project methodologies utilise development sprints to unlock iterative improvement and faster releases without impacting the delivery of the product.
- Getting the right technical strategy and architecture in place which allows for scalability and flexibility is vital in planning for growth
- It’s important that you secure an ongoing support and development plan from the outset to ensure your product is never exposed
Have a challenge or opportunity and want to learn how the right digital product could help? Get in touch and let’s figure out a way forward together.