We believe that building the right product is about a balance between fulfilling your business objectives whilst satisfying your user’s needs. As discussed in the previous article, Play Like a Prop Tech, one of the traits of a successful Prop Tech is that they are fast moving and use data to drive decision-making.
At Sonin, the first stage of our app development process is centred around generating data to inform the direction of your build. Our evidence-based approach ensures you have a clear focus of what you need to achieve from the outset. This results in a successful product for your business and users.
In the blog that follows, we reveal why the exercises in our discovery workshops are one of the best ways to narrow your focus, acquire data and ultimately, give you the licence to play like a prop tech. Here’s how…

1. Establishing business objectives provide direction and focus

When it comes to building apps, you’ll never be short of feature ideas. But you can’t do everything all at once and expect it to be a success. You need to establish your objectives, goals, and direction before anything else.

The first exercise of a Product Discovery workshop is about establishing your Business Objectives. It involves defining your long- and short-term business goals before making the difficult decision to choose the priority goal. This will become your primary focus.

We compel clients to decide their primary focus at the very start of the workshop. This is because you can’t begin building your product if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. From your primary focus, you can formulate your North Star Metric, a tangible measure that you can use to quantity how successful your product is. For example, once you have built your Minimum Desirable Product, MDP, you will want to know whether it has been a success or not. Therefore, you can run tests, review the analytics, and then, because you have your North Star Metric, you can compare the results and measure your success rating.

2. Examine the facts with journey mapping

Quite often we assume we know just how our business runs – who does what and in what order etc. So why do we need to spend time mapping out the journey from start to finish?

We find journey mapping an excellent exercise to highlight edge cases and inefficiencies in your process that are not apparent on the surface. If we’re going to build the right product, we need to examine the business on the ground – how it actually runs, as opposed to how we perceive it to run.

A journey map is a visual tool that documents the process a person goes through to complete a goal. While this may begin as a step-by-step timeline, by the end of the exercise, the journey map incorporates emotions and expectations which makes it much more than just a timeline of events. 

By recording the actions that the business and/or customers take in this format, you will begin to see the real-life picture of your current journey. Edge cases you didn’t know about will begin to unfold and inefficient parts of the journey will come to light. These are valuable pieces of fact-based information which are essential to acknowledge. This is because you can use this data to fuel the feature ideas you come up with before building your product roadmap.

Following this, we run an exercise called ‘Pains & Gains’. This is where we ask you to note down any frustrations or pain points there are, or could be, throughout the customer journey. Shortly after, we ask you to note down any delightful moments in the same fashion. 

By overlaying the journey map with post-it notes detailing business pain points, you can acquire data about the biggest problem areas. This manifests in the form of a cluster of post-it notes in a few key areas on the journey map. This activity is effective as it supplies data on the biggest issues with your current journey and allows you to then come up with features that will resolve these issues.

By providing a real, factual picture of your journey, and not just the ‘best case scenario’, the Pains & Gains exercise allows you to come up with features that address the biggest problem areas and therefore, build the right product which makes change and adds the most value.

3. Feature exercises allow you to prioritise with justification

As mentioned, the data from the journey mapping exercise feeds the feature ideation and prioritisation exercises. The idea generation is made specific and relative because you are instructed to:

  • Ensure the feature satisfies a business or user pain point (the latter can be determined through User Research which we delve into deeper in the next blog).
  • AND, that the feature will contribute towards your primary focus (yes, remember that North Star Metric from earlier?)  

This means that when it comes to putting a product roadmap together, the feature ideas are ALL geared around addressing the primary business focus and solving the biggest issues for the business and user.

The prioritisation exercise is bound by the MoSCoW methodology. The exercise involves categorising each feature into a Must Haves, Should Haves, Could haves, or Won’t haves’ section. To do this, you must make decisions based on the data you have collated thus far. This includes reflecting on your North Star Metric.

Before deciding which category a feature goes in to, you need to ask yourself “Will this feature help achieve my primary focus of X?” If it’s a non-negotiable yes, then you would decide to categorise that feature as a Must Have.  If it’s a maybe, then you would decide to categorise that feature as a Should Have or Could Have, and so on.

The outcome of this exercise is to produce a product roadmap that prioritises the high value, low effort features so that you and your users receive the most value, fast. This helps you build the right product based in fact and evidence; acting fast and using data to drive decision making, just like a prop tech.

Discovery workshops help you make data-driven decisions

The exercises in our workshops are one of the best ways to give you data to drive decision making and play like a prop tech.

  • The business objectives exercise will give you direction and focus in the early stages. It will also allow you to attach a metric to your primary focus and hold you accountable for all decision making throughout the discovery and development process.
  • The journey mapping exercise will ensure you are looking at facts as opposed to perception. This means looking at existing process, understanding the different edge cases and ensuring you lay the land – rather than mapping the journey you think or want to happen.
  • This allows you to draw out pain points which inform the feature ideation and prioritisation exercises which subsequently mean you will build a roadmap based on justified evidence.

Our product discovery exercises will allow you to generate data to help you drive decision making and ultimately, play like a prop tech.

Look out for part two of this blog which emphasises how to be user-centric like a prop tech and utilise data from user research to inform product decision making.  

Live the experience for yourself!

Now you’ve understood how to build the right product, why not see how it’s done when we bring these exercises to life in our Discovering your Digital Solution webinar sessions?

Our product experts will be walking through our Product Discovery exercises in a live environment, demonstrating the best way to navigate the early stages of app development.

You will learn how to run your own Product Discovery workshop!

We’ll demonstrate how you can:

  • Facilitate a product discovery workshop in your own workplace
  • Get key decision makers on board and engaged
  • Build the right product that’s bespoke to your business and users

Reserve your space at one of the next sessions and make it happen!