Why is investing time in thinking about your product development process time well spent? Marta Andreoni, UX Design Lead in the TX Markets central Product and UX (PUX) team, answered this question and talked to us about how having an effective product process is proven to have a positive impact on more than just the product itself.
Agility in Product Processes
One of the crucial parts of successful problem solving is discovering the right problem to solve - and then finding possible solutions for it. Designers and researchers working in agile environments usually struggle about fitting a research and design process into a 2 week sprint. While it is possible to do so in some cases, in other cases, especially when you are exploring new product areas or value propositions, it might also lead to missing the larger problem at hand and losing valuable insights into the solution opportunities. Taking the time to invest in shaping a product development process will better support teams in unlocking opportunities to make the customers happy, differentiate yourself from competition, and reduce the risks of investing too much money into something that might not add enough value.
The PUX team constantly works on de-risking product ideas. A big part of it is including research early on and in a way that will allow for more informed product decisions. Here is one example of a successfully implemented product process at TX Markets.
Product Processes: Marketplace Implementation
At CAR FOR YOU, at the end of the quarter, cross-functional teams work together to define and shape the initiatives for the quarter ahead. These initiatives could range from experimenting/designing a new feature to improving a step in the user journey. This process happens in the form of a 2-3 week sprint, during which OKRs are defined and initiatives are envisioned and continuously shaped. Team responsibilities and goals are shared in collaborative sessions.
At the beginning of the new quarter, all the initiatives are shared in a product and UX roadmap and described as epics and user stories. Initiatives that need more exploration are labelled "discovery", and everything else is broken down into small "delivery" tickets. The UX team and Developer teams are then also shaping the roadmap in their respective disciplines to define how to support the main product roadmap. Allowing for more time for certain initiatives and breaking down tasks into smaller tickets, as opposed to tackling issues with a high-level approach has made a difference. The inclusion of researchers, designers and developers in the shaping of initiatives, besides in the delivery and testing stage, has improved the quality of the communication and of the outcomes. This has led to a significant increase in the number of initiatives implemented compared to previous years and improved the speed in delivery. The process is still improving and the company is currently testing the dual-track agile methodology, between other agile techniques to make product discovery and delivery more efficient.
Learnings & Best Practices for Successful Product Processes
No book contains the one truth about approaching product initiatives with a UX lens. Flexibility and personalisation of processes are necessary to react to market changes, technical updates or general unexpected events. Empowered product teams, with ownership of a product or a product area, are accountable for the product's success.
Another aspect that makes a product successful is shaping your product strategy and roadmap based on user insights. Data analytics and research help to remove biases and prioritize the most important problems to solve for the users. By determining the areas to focus on, it is also easier to set a few goals for each product cycle. It helps everyone have a clear understanding of what should be achieved, which in return improves cross-functional team productivity and motivation. Everybody is responsible for the user experience, and having a great process experience within the teams will help shape a great experience for the users.
Thank you to Marta Andreoni for sharing her insights into this topic.