When a new product is being developed, it is difficult to eliminate all uncertainty in advance. Part of the requirements and potential obstacles are still unclear. At the very beginning of something completely new, neither the “How” nor the “What” are obvious.
Agile Product development is about „how” to develop a product as effectively as possible. The “Product Owner” is the one that knows best what the product needs to offer and where the potential for improvement lies. He knows the customers and prioritises the order of product features to be developed. This way the planning phase is being minimized and a partial product is ready after a maximum of four weeks. Based on the feedback, the team continues to develop the product and can respond in a flexible manner to changing customer wishes and needs.
This approach however reaches its limits if neither the “Product Owner” nor the customer know “what” the market and with that the end customer actually want. This is mainly the case with products that address entirely new customer problems with completely novel solutions. This type of “what” is being addressed by innovation frameworks such as “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries or “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya since 2011. Instead of immediately starting the construction of the final product, ongoing bigger and smaller experiments provide clarity about if the problem is worth solving via the development of a product. Through this approach, new products can be developed in half the time, at half the cost. Usually we first conduct conversations called “problem” interviews and with these we answer the key question more quickly: “Does the product create enough value to the customer to justify its purchase?”
The power lies in the combination!
The advantages of agile product development have already impressed Swiss companies as well in many industries such as banking, insurance, ICT, media and high tech. In Scrum alone, the most widely used agile framework, the number of trainees has increased from a few hundred to several thousand a month in the last 10 years. In our experience development teams usually work with either one or the other framework. We propose to combine both. You can learn how to use the described combination of “how” and “what” for your current project in the next Lean Innovation Training on 04./05.07.2016 or in an informal chat with us.