As a product company, we engineered digital products from the ground up for startups across domains, reengineered legacy enterprise systems, but we also built our own software with varying success. What we learned along the way is that success depended largely on our team mentality and that, as engineers, designers, and strategists, we needed to focus on solutions rather than technology.
What this means is departing from the traditional project mindset that trains teams to focus on tasks which is sort of like working in a vacuum. Teams have no real comprehension of the product as a whole, the goals set by the business nor the needs of its end users and what happens when the product hits the market.
This ‘silo’ approach is omnipresent in software development companies simply because we’re creatures of habit. For too long we’ve been thought to think in terms of scope, time, costs, etc. never really thinking about business outcomes or customer experiences that the product delivers.
Adopting a product mindset means focusing on the value delivered to the client and prioritizing continual learning and improvement throughout the product life cycle. It means measuring your team’s effectiveness through delivered outcomes, not outputs.
Here’s the deal. Digital products are complex, evolving systems that should be valued by the impact they have on users and desired business outcomes. As a product company, this is where you should put your focus while at the same time offering a fresh technological perspective to clients. If you manage to achieve this you’ll have an unfair advantage over competitors.
For example, our partners trust us completely because they know we are as involved as they are in the product’s success and that we measure our teams against product goals that we’re able to achieve. They know that we have a pragmatic approach to business priorities and value for the users when it comes to building their product.
High performing product teams are motivated by results. They understand product vision but they also have strong market experience to challenge client’s ideas when necessary. And no, they won’t be inspired by the roadmap of features, but real problems and finding the best ways to solve them through technology.
This is why focusing on outcomes is so important in product engineering. It will help you be more efficient and also attract the best people out there for your team.
So, what is an example outcome in digital product development?
In essence, outcome is something measurable that a business and/or user recognizes as valuable.
“Users are able to ‘create profile’ in half the time.”
This type of outcome is easy to understand and it becomes the common language of design and engineering teams, meaning they will no longer work on features in a vacuum.
Companies that have made the shift from project to product-driven know that building great digital products requires a cross-functional effort. Their product teams include software engineers, UX designers, product managers, and digital strategists that all work together to create something meaningful and deliver a great product.
A truly empowered product team has:
- Clear outcomes defined and understood by everyone in the team
- Knowledge to find the best way to achieve those outcomes
- A practice of continuous improvement through testing and iterations
- Passion for understanding the people who use the products
- Accountability to business goals
Teams that adopt the product mindset nurture freedom of ideas, creativity and innovation, empowering them to build high quality digital products and services. This creates value for clients, helps you focus on the things that matter, and ultimately creates a competitive advantage for your business.
If you want to build a digital product that will create tremendous value for the users and for your business, let’s talk!