Guy Borgford, Senior Director of Business Development at L4 Digital, offers seven tips for finding digital product wins amidst the end-of-year madness.
As we move deeper into Q4, many of us are trying to wrap up our projects before the mad dash of the holiday season. We’re working quickly to pin down answers to our team’s most important questions: Where does our product need to go? How much budget will we need to get it there? What are our goals for the year ahead?
Whether you’re building mobile applications, planning a revolutionary web experience, or mapping out the next connected must-have to showcase at CES, the pressure’s on. And as we all know, our funding for next year is often dependent upon what we achieve today.
To help make the most of what remains of Q4, I’ve identified the top seven ways to make significant progress in a short period of time so that you and your team can start 2018 ahead of the curve.
Technical Assessments and Recommendation Reports
Technology moves too fast for words, and often times, technical decisions are made in a vacuum. Completing a technical assessment that focuses on the intersection of user needs and business goals will help you put people first. The results of your technical assessment will aid you in building a technical roadmap for the year ahead, which will enable budget planning and facilitate scope discussions that focus on the people using your products.
Research Assessments and Recommendation Reports
When someone asks why you’re building something, or why you’re building something a certain way, you want to have an answer that’s backed up by data. Third-party research is a good place to start, but what about your customers and the people who build and support your digital experiences? Have you heard from them? There are many supporting teams and systems involved in the creation of your digital product, and each of them may have recommendations that are invaluable to the product’s ultimate success. Considering their input alongside validated first- and third-party research builds a complete picture of the various user journeys, which informs a better, more holistic final product.
UX Assessments and Recommendation Reports
There are a ton of UX testing and assessment tools available to you that provide insight into what about your product works and doesn’t work. To solve your users’ pain points, start by taking an honest look at your own experience while using your product and evaluating where UX falls short. You can do this by using online UX testing platforms like UserZoom or by assembling testing pods in your office. By completing a UX assessment, you can more closely identify with your users’ needs and foster the intimate, ongoing relationship with your target audience that is so crucial to the success of your product. Set a goal of completing a UX assessment before the end of the year—your customers will thank you.
Lean/Agile Workshops and Digital Transformation
Sometimes, business and customer challenges are bigger than a product, and are organization-wide in their scope. Setting up a curriculum to teach your company the ways of lean/agile can have an immediate and transformative impact on your team’s productivity and success. The kind of cultural change that accompanies implementing lean/agile doesn’t happen overnight though; it requires consistent reinforcement to keep your ship on course over the long term. Workshopping lean/agile tactics can help make these changes a permanent part of your company culture.
Minimum Viable Product [MVP] and Product Definition Workshops
When you get a bunch of smart people in a room, agreeing on what a product should become can be a big challenge. By mapping out, defining, and prioritizing the intersection of user needs and business goals, you’ll shed stakeholder biases and fast track your initial product release or update. Wrap up the year with an MVP workshop that distills and defines product scope and feature sets, thereby eliminating blockers that impede project progress or, worse yet, keep a project from ever getting off the ground.
Product Prototyping and Proofs of Concept
Creating interactive prototypes is often the best way to sway the C-Suite, gain project consensus among key decision makers, and get the funding your team needs to move a project forward. Interactive comps, clickable prototypes, proofs of concept, and working demos enable engagement while fostering product visualization, stakeholder consensus, and a deeper understanding of the product’s value. Set a goal of having a working prototype by 2018, and solidify your product vision for a year of digital product success.
SWAT Teams: Hit Lists, To-Do’s, and Goal Wrapping
Let’s face it—the year gets away from us, and sometimes crossing things off that to-do list doesn’t keep pace with the clock. Assembling small teams to methodically prioritize and complete product updates will deliver measureable success this year and set the stage for continued success and productivity in 2018. Keep your team lean and your goals realistic, and give your people the runway they need to succeed.
So, there you have it. L4’s Q4 Project Hit List. Which of these seven things can you and your team be working on now to start 2018 with maximum momentum? Start now, because the New Year will be here way too soon.