How to overcome first product development fears?
Not many people have the confidence to trust their own imagination yet sometimes that’s the first of many steps of creating digital products. Of course it all starts with an idea, but what then? What happens when that idea starts getting out of control? When it gets too big, too impossible?
We often set ourselves boundaries and limitations to believe that something is out of our reach, but we must keep in mind that the world moves fast and so do the people who live in it, constantly changing their behaviors and needs. So, it’s just a matter of polishing ideas to make them come true and start making an impact on people’s lives.
How to go from an idea to a product that solves problems for users?
Bringing an idea to life means start doing and even if it doesn’t always go as we expect, that is actually a sign of movement instead of failure as many may think.
You might be familiar with the term “Fail Fast”, this actually means that the sooner you start, the better. The best practice with every idea is to validate, quickly and consistently. Failing at a product creation process is expected most of the time, and will ensure better results after testing and iterating our product features.
How to start a Product Development Process?
When it comes to the first time creating a digital product, it’s key to keep an eye on the following issues in order to motivate ourselves to start doing instead of setting limitations.
1. When is the perfect timing for creating a digital product?
As mentioned before, the world moves fast, so timing is obviously going to be a concern. Wanting to be the first to launch the perfect product while taking advantage of the context is inevitable. The doubts about THE PERFECT moment can be haunting. The truth is that there is no such perfect moment since today’s needs and concerns have changed a lot from what the world needed just a few months ago.
When it comes to time, the key is to prioritize executables, and streamline processes for it. Basically working methodically to create a tangible version of our idea and then scaling its functionality and scope.
2. Think big, plan short term
Some people might be afraid of showing incomplete ideas or not being able to tell the world their whole vision. But that is only a matter of storytelling and resources to support that story. Sometimes we don’t need a whole functionable platform to communicate an idea or a concept. We must reach a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to reflect the basis of our vision even if at first it is not everything we dreamt of. The key to achieve that is planning.
A clear roadmap is a must have on every product development process. This should contemplate every step of the process taking into account that concrete things must be validated before moving forward to the next steps. It is also key to know that this roadmap MUST be flexible since some validations may result in a slight shift in planning once our hypotheses are proven right or wrong.
There are many methodologies teams can use that support these concepts (Lean, Agile, Design Thinking, Customer Development). They all involve having a hypothesis, making experiments, validating, and iterating if needed.
3. Test fast, move on faster
Testing will imply sometimes failing in validating our hypothesis, but that’s not always negative (though many people see it that way).
Failing is simply one more step of the process of a digital product development, as long as we are able to obtain data. It’s very important to invest time measuring, analyzing and understanding. We must take conclusions, learn from our mistakes, and then use all this information to refresh our mind and start again.
At this point, it is essential to embrace the fact that in order to validate our idea and turn it into a product, actually doing and moving forward is a must. How? Concentrating on the information that validates our hypothesis, obtaining actionable insights, understanding the data that really says something and iterating into a better version.
4. Focus on what matters
It’s very frequent to feel more doubtful about an idea once validation starts. Despite that, making conclusions after each validation is a must. It’s important to understand the difference between what will be the core function of our product vs. the ”nice to have” features and to focus on those validations and analysis so we can concentrate on what brings us closer to our goal.
For example, if our goal is to validate a marketplace experience where the user might prefer a shop cart instead of buying directly to someone, we should focus on that exact topic. This does not mean we won’t pay attention to comments related to other functionalities. These will be taken into account and will be added to our backlog, but are not our priority today.
Focus on the Quick wins at first, don’t distract yourself with the nice to have or the big bets.
There are a lot of techniques and tools to do these kinds of validations depending on the stage of the product development process and on the idea we are turning into a business. Every project is different, but all of them are measurable. Having concrete data (quantitative) and defined timing, will allow us to define in a more agile manner what to do next depending on the results we get.
Every decision around a digital product development process will probably change but that doesn’t mean that planning makes no sense, it’s actually planning what will allow us to shift in the right direction. If that time comes in our product development process, we will understand better why, when and for whom we are switching things for.
Don’t waste time waiting for the perfect moment or the complete project. The moment is now, be smart and learn on the go.
If you have an idea or are working on a project you could use some help with, feel free to contact us! We’d be happy to help you… or who knows? Maybe be your new partner in crime.
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