The ITP Way: Start with why
Since In The Pocket launched a decade ago, we learned a lot about working together as a team. To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we decided to share our learnings with the outside world! We launched an interactive guide to developing mobile applications, made an overview of mobile technologies, interviewed our colleagues to hear their stories… And that’s just the beginning! At the second part of 2020, we’ll launch ‘The ITP Way’. In the upcoming weeks, you can discover a part of this booklet in a blog series on how we create digital products.
Creating digital products, whether they’re mobile applications or virtual reality experiences, isn’t the same as working in a factory or bakery as you often don’t know what the outcome of your work will be. That’s why we always start with the why by finding a shared vision and mission to work towards.
Establishing a clear understanding of the client's expectations allows us to maximise our value throughout the collaboration, as well as it allow us to challenge the client in a respectful and impactful way. In gaining understanding of the client's perspective and expectations, we have to try to clearly answer the following questions:
- What is the client trying to achieve, both in terms of output and outcome? An example of output can be ‘launching a digital product’ which has the outcome ‘to improve the way young people save money’.
- What services is the client expecting from us (both explicit and implicit)? And how do these expectations map to our resources, offerings and skills?
- How do the client's expectations map on our beliefs with regards to successful digital product development? Do we detect any gaps or red flags that we should sort out? An example of a red flag could be a client who wants to start developing without a clear goal or value proposition.
- Who are the key stakeholders in our collaboration, both on an operational and decision-making level?
A product vision & mission to work towards
Once we have established a clear understanding of the client's perspective and expectations, we should define a clear vision & mission for the product(s) we will be working on. The mission defines the product's BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) or North Star. At a minimum, it answers the following question: if the product delivers its full potential, what value (for business + users) does it create? Except when there is a major product pivot, the mission is rarely updated.
Throughout the product design & development process this shared mission will create a guiding framework for making decisions, setting priorities, challenge ways of working… Depending on the life-cycle stage of the product (Explore, Build or Grow) we will be working on, this mission can take different forms and shapes.
In the next part of this series, we’ll explain why we never stop discovering and what that means for how we work as a team.