As a technology company, conceiving, creating and releasing new features on our platform is our bread and butter. I wanted to share the high level principles we use in our approach to doing this. These principles also reflect the culture and ways of working we strive for in PepTalk. We try to apply a version of them across the board whether it is in the creative process when developing new content or as we meet the demands of scaling our business as we grow and evolve.
1. Vision - Are we there yet, are we there yet ... wait, where are we ?
It is essential to have a clear vision and high level roadmap for your product in order to help set the prioritisation around what gets built first. Once you undertake this journey priorities may change but this has to be done in a controlled and strategic manner always reflecting on the vision that has been agreed and set out. Having a clear vision and roadmap will help in managing the deluge of features requests that will invariably come your way once you start building.
Warren Buffet once said “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.”
This statement could equally apply to Product Managers. Taking this stance with all new feature requests ensures they don't derail the roadmap and corrupt the vision of where you want to go. New feature requests have to be carefully considered in the context of the overall vision and only those that fit the criteria should be given a place on the roadmap. Craft and refine what you have, sell a compelling vision, and don’t get sucked into a feature creation war where ultimately your product suffers an identity crisis.
2. MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - No, its not the newest suburban vehicle !
When it comes to scoping what a feature will get after, we always try to adhere to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) principle. This approach challenges you to deliver the minimum set of changes that make the feature useful and usable but no more.
Feature development is costly, time consuming and by its nature adding complexity to an already complex system. This will invariably create unintended consequences that nobody can account for in the design and development stages. That is why it is critical to take an MVP approach to any new development, and then let it loose to see how users interact with it. The release of your feature is only the beginning of your journey when using the MVP approach. This leads us into the last key principle which is feedback.
3. Feedback Loop-the-Loops :
Releasing an MVP is accepting that you don’t have all the answers, and are looking to validate your assumptions about how users will interact with your product. By creating a feedback loop with your users you can iterate on your features and give the customer what they want.
Feedback for us is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data from usage statistics, surveys and interviews. When analysing feedback it is always important to try and drill down into the why and not just accept that a feature needs to change because a certain number of users said so. Understanding the root cause of a problem can help drive a more effective solution to a problem than often what is being suggested on the surface.
Developing new features is not about writing code at all (that is the easy part). It is about great communication and collaboration between teams, all bought into the same vision and moving together in the same direction.
Head of Technology @ PepTalk
Let's make work better … At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes.