Today, more and more businesses are trying to load their products with technology. From smartphones to washing machines, we see a lot of embedded technology that greatly enhances their functionality and improves convenience and personalisation.
However, this often creates complexity that has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of product strategies and sales. This complexity is a result of an interplay of a number of factors, including:
- ineffective collaboration between tech experts and product managers,
- feature development,
- technology selection,
Here, we’re going to go through methods used to prevent complexity and introduce a whole new game plan to resolve this issue.
Creating a useful product that provides delightful experiences and is easy to use is an art as much as a science. Many products fail shortly after launch because product managers and technical specialists fail to provide meaningful value. This is why detecting these situations, which can be done, for example, at the Product Design Sprint stage, is crucial at the very beginning of creating a digital product.
A truly great product, whether it’s a washing machine or an app, provides an innovative approach to solving a problem that a target audience has, and causes change in people’s behavior. These products are well-known and admired, and every product manager wants to create something like them.
How to Build Great Digital Products
The main goal of every manager working on a digital product is threefold:
- Focus on the things that matter most to the target audience. Typically, it is a problem that they have. This problem should be significant enough to be solved.
- Make the product scalable to sell it to a large online audience.
- Make the product sustainable from a business perspective. For a product strategy to be successful and sustainable, business needs must drive technical ones.
Remember: you need to build a technically feasible and economically viable innovation that many people care about. Unnecessary product complexity, on the other hand, means that only a few customers want it.
The Problem of Technical Complexity
Unnecessary complexity is created by a number of factors, including the following.
Poor Product Architecture
Developers sometimes fail to understand that poor architecture decisions upfront can have painful downstream implications. In many companies, developers don’t have the software-engineering skills required to anticipate potential upgrade and programming issues.
Issues like these can create unnecessary complexity by making poor design decisions and negatively affecting the architecture presented to the end user, making it hard to understand and use. In turn, the complexity can be harmful to the reputation of the business and lead to additional costs, so it should be avoided with good architecture design.
Lack of Problem-Solution Fit
To find out what digital product must be built, one should explore the problem-solution space and understand the business opportunity. The most important goal here is to identify a problem which is significant enough and worth solving for a particular customer group that – on the other hand – would want to buy it. Also, finding ways to provide a proper solution that has the potential to make an appreciable impact in people’s lives is necessary.
The best way to ensure a pleasant user experience is to place the end user at the center of the problem-solving exploration. This will increase the chance that you’ll develop something that everybody wants to use. Making general assumptions is a very dangerous road because it doesn’t allow you to empathize with the product’s target customer group.
Lack of Product-Market Fit
When one figures out if the digital product is something one wants to use, the next step is to find product-market fit, which means: produce something and keep improving it until that product provides economic viability and user value.
In other words, the business needs to ensure that it’s building the right product for the right customer group and that the need they address has not been already solved. This also means there is a need to constantly improve quality, features, and design based on the feedback from the target customer group.
Weak Link to Business Priorities
For many online businesses, a conflict between digital products and business strategy – or sometimes even a lack of this link – is a problem. The modern online business environment requires a faster pace of product change and a longer learning period. If a business doesn’t adapt to these conditions, it faces a high risk of increasing costs, or even failure.
To make sure that the strategy for a digital product is sustainable, business considerations must drive technical considerations. If programmers are facing pressure from the management to develop a new product in a quick and cost-efficient way, a conflict between business strategy and a technical capacity will emerge.
That’s why solving unnecessary complexity by establishing the right framework for development of digital products is the best strategy for achieving product goals.
I hope this guide will help you started on ensuring that simplification is a core component of your product strategy. The customers are going to get exactly what they want - whether they get it from you or someone else - so do your best to ensure that your product meets their needs.
And the reward for that will include higher conversions, positive user feedback and business growth.