Discover your product, easy.

Dec 17

Discover your product, easy.

The thing with designing a software is that in most cases the idea of how should it look like is quite vague. As a person responsible for the project you were probably asked to deliver a brief description of its purpose.  But do you really know what to write? Most likely you will not be the only user of this system. How should you know what all the groups of interest actually need? And what is possible to achieve?

What is Product Discovery?

Product Discovery is a service that any consulting firm or software house should offer. It helps to understand what kind of an IT solution will be most suitable and correspondent with the specific requirements of your organization. But first, let’s see if you have actually recognized them all and if everything you might imagine truly applies. The best way to do it is to hold a workshop and invite representatives of each department to take part in it. With the help of a professional Business Analyst (designated by the software house), you will easily create the concept of your future product.

8 stages of Product Discovery workshop

And how does such a workshop look like? Well, it depends on an organization. In general, it is possible to distinguish 8 stages of so-called Product Discovery. Not all of them may apply to your specific organization but let’s go through them and find out your options.

1. The Horizon

product discovery

At this stage, you are going to look at a wider perspective of the whole process. First, you will get familiar with the agenda of this very meeting. You will also learn the nomenclature and all the definitions that are going to be necessary along the way. Next, you will hear about the methodologies in software development, and possibly get the idea of which one to choose. Finally, you might actually see the horizon – an overall idea of the product. But that is only stage one.  We are just getting started.

2. Recognition of the main business process

product discovery

You need to remember that the software itself is no remedy for any performance issues if it does not correspond with what you actually do at your company. Having that in mind, a very important part of the Product Discovery is its second stage. During this take of the workshop you will identify all the steps of your key business procedures. It is going to help to correctly design the system in the long term. The last thing you want is that your brand new application becomes the next bottleneck in your organization, right?

3. Determination of the general goals

product discovery

After you have recognized all the stages of your business process, it is important to gather them all and come up with just a few objectives. Those goals you set during the stage #3 of Product Discovery should stay with you throughout the whole time of software development. Each part of the system needs to be consistent with what is the general direction of the project.  This approach guarantees the success of the IT endeavor and makes every little functionality work in favor of your business.

4. Basic system demonstration

Is the software you think you need actually the best option?

product discovery

In some cases, the team involved in the project already has an idea about which type of existing software could be adjusted – if Open Source – to work with the specific requirements of the company. If so, it is the best moment to do a quick demonstration of such solution. This way you will be able to compare your business process with the capabilities of a certain product. It might be that it is exactly what you are looking for or… not at all. Having this knowledge at such an early stage of the project is going to save you a lot of time and money.

5. IT environment study

product discovery

A very important factor for any software development project is to be aware of all the other systems around it. There is a lot of potential in creating a well-communicated platform of many IT solutions. This way you will avoid repeating the information that already exists in your organization. In order to recognize what you already have and how it should correlate with the new piece of software, it is useful to do a simple outline showing the necessary integrations.

6. System beneficiaries recognition

product discovery

At the beginning of the article, we have made a prediction that you are not going to be the only user of the future software… At this point of Product Discovery workshop you should finally think of who is going to actually work with it. Before you make a judgment of what the software has to do, find out who will be using it and… ask them what they really need!

7. Value Proposition

based on a diagram that shows representatives of each department and their “Jobs, Pains and Gains

product discovery

The Value Proposition stage should lead you to a conclusion about more specific functionalities of the software. At this point, you should ask the future key users what kind of tasks (“Jobs”) they are facing during their work hours. Of some, you might just not be aware. After that, it is important to compare the results with the so-called “Pains”. It means shifting the attention onto all the things that are slowing down the progress in certain departments. Finally, think about what there is to do to fix all the problems along the way. The knowledge about challenges in your organization will help to design a comprehensive solution customized to your specific needs.

8. Comparison of the business process and the software idea

product discovery

The last stage of Product Discovery means a comparison of your business process with the more comprehensible idea of the software. The most important question to ask at this point is: How this case could look like in the system? This is when the concept of what needs to be done comes to life. This is when you discover your product! This is also when you can start the pre-implementation analysis and begin the development with the use of the chosen methodology and the help of a preferable software house.

What should you expect from the software house?

Of course, you are not going to be alone with all this work! 8 stages are quite a lot and you need someone to moderate the whole thing. The smartest way is to ask the software house to designate a professional Business Analyst to guide you through the process. Such person is going to be experienced and well-equipped to take on the responsibility of handling the meeting correctly.

Only thanks to such support you will fully benefit from the workshop! Their job is to make sure that one and all understand what is being discussed and that everyone is using the same nomenclature. It happens in some organizations that some terms mean different things in other departments. It might look like something obvious but it is crucial to the success of the Product Discovery that all the parties are on the same page, at all times! This is also how you will find out how competent your possible business partner actually is. If they have all the necessary qualifications, they will also offer a reliable support later on. This feeling of a mutual trust will be essential during the actual software development. And if something is going to be really clear about Product Discovery it is not only your big idea for the software but also the fact if the company you teamed up with is up for the job.

Jul 17
web application

Mobile, desktop or web application – what should you choose?

The app. It has been one of the fastest trending buzz words of last years. Many times when we hear about a successful startup or about the newest tool that everyone just cannot stop using (and talking about), there is a great chance it has to do with some kind of an IT application.  When our customers ask us what could solve their problems there cannot be another answer than: let us develop an application for you, it will be a perfect fit to specific needs of your organization.

Desktop, mobile or web application – about making that choice

When you already know that you want to order a customized application, the next question will probably be: of what kind? There are three main types of such software. It makes a difference if it should be a mobile, desktop or web application. Let us guide you through each kind so you can consciously make the best choice.

It appears that the most commonly used solution is still the desktop app. Many individuals and businesses decide to install hard copies of the software on their servers and use them on their laptops and PCs. It is definitely convenient to have it stored and be able to use it even without internet connection. However, the desktop app is also the oldest solution and it many cases tends to be a little outdated.

A mobile application, on the other hand, was created to meet the needs of growing network of the users of mobile devices. These applications are most often created for specific operating systems (such as Android, iOS or Windows) and work best with devices that support them. If the specificity of your organization requires an above average usage of a mobile phone or tablet, you should consider getting a mobile app instead.

If you cannot estimate if you are using your laptop or your smartphone more, it is likely that the web application will be appropriate.  The great advantage of this type of software is that it can be used on whatever device. It opens in a browser, so it operates the same on the PC in your office, your laptop during a business trip or on your smartphone as you are running late to work.

How to tell mobile app from desktop or web application? 

Mobile and desktop applications need to be installed directly on a device.

A desktop application usually requires adaptation to the operating system of the device, which may mean that it will simply not work on a computer with a different OS. It is also rather difficult to perform an upgrade to the latest version because it means an installment of the most recent patch on every single computer within the firm.

It might be a little less problematic when it comes to mobile apps. To be precise there are at least three sorts of this kind of solution. We will be covering the details in following posts on this blog, but just to give you a glimpse, it’s possible to distinguish:

  • light website,
  • native application,
  • hybrid application.

Talking about the upgrades and switching between devices, light websites or hybrid apps do not cause any difficulties. A slight obstacle might occur if using a native mobile application. In case it was prepared for a certain OS or – even more radically – just for a specific version of the operating system, its users should be prepared to face some limitations.

A web application, on the other hand, communicates with your device exclusively through a web browser. As mentioned, it does not make a difference if you are using a phone or a personal computer. This is a great advantage that saves your time and gives you the freedom of deciding which device is more appropriate at the moment. It is crucial that you have a working internet connection though. (Anyway, nowadays it should not be a problem.) One other thing to consider while using a web application is its responsiveness. Your software house should make sure it opens on a phone’s small screen in a way that will not interfere with your User Experience.

Is web application an ultimate solution?

After reading the latest paragraph you might already be under the impression, that a web application is the best solution out there. It is simpler to use, portable and it saves your time.

Surprisingly, desktop applications are actually very popular throughout many business branches. Especially when it comes to the software that supports accounting or financial analytics. It results from stagnation and misunderstanding rather than from an actual supremacy of this solution. A popular myth, that is still circulating in many organizations tells us that data entered into desktop applications is less likely to be hacked. It comes from the perception of private servers to be the safest solution to store business information. It could not be further from the truth to still think that in 2017. It should be enough to say that even traditionally known as exclusively desktop app, biggest office suite has recently turned into the direction of a web solution[1].

Mobile applications on the other hand are software designed for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. They usually work as an addition to a web app because not all the functions can be delivered on a small screen of just a phone with a limited computer performance.

Internet (web) apps are a mobile tool that can be used anywhere in the world and from any device – regardless of its operating system. They are also usually very frequently updated (without involving its users). Those two factors make them the most desirable software of modern times. Very good examples of web applications are all types of applications that require online communication (for example transactional, social and administrative portals).

Connecting different types of applications

A very popular solution is to connect two (sometimes three) types of applications. It can be done if you would like to use the benefits of more than one kind of such software. A connection of the web and mobile application is commonly used in CRM systems. SugarCRM for example apart from a very popular web application offers a mobile version of it. It complements the user experience and allows a convenient way of switching devices depending on a situation.

A little summary

All desktop applications require installation on PCs or portable computers.

Mobile applications are built for a specific type of operating system. Updating them does not involve much attention from the user. In addition, mobile applications can usually work without internet access.

The web application has tremendous capabilities. It combines the assets of a mobile app with some unique features. It can be used on both stationary and mobile devices. The only thing that you should remember about before choosing this solution is the fact, that it depends on the quality of your internet connection.

For more information and some consultancy regarding the most suitable solution, contact our team by filling in our online form available here: CONTACT.