Everywhere you turn nowadays there is the latest and greatest product to solve your biggest problem. The growth of cloud solutions, open source development platforms, talent on demand and crowdsourcing has created an innovation atmosphere where new products are being developed, released and promoted almost daily. Anyone with an idea can quickly build the next great widget – but the successes are far outpaced by the failures.
If you’re struggling with your “stuff”, there is a good chance you need more “fluff” on your product team.
Successful Product Development Needs “Fluff” Too
You might be asking yourself at this point, what is “stuff” and what is “fluff”? In simplest terms, I refer to “stuff” as the bits and bytes of the product development team – the stories, the coding, the testing of the product – it’s the meat of the product. “Fluff” is the customer need, the business (or customer) solution you’re delivering, the product marketing plan. They require significantly different skills but both are essential for success.
Have you answered the following questions about your product:
- Who is the primary audience?
- Do you understand their pain? What they need?
- What are the benefits of your “stuff”?
- How does your “stuff” deliver value?
- How do you intend to target your primary audience?
If you don’t have definitive (and correct) answers to these questions, you’re likely going to be challenged in gaining acceptance and adoption of your product.
At minimum, make sure you have someone on your team that can put their customer hat on and provide input as to the needs of the user. Have conversations with your team about the experience, the value and the benefits of the product. Include your development team in those conversations. The ability to have “fluffy” conversations about the product will help drive a product roadmap that is focus on those that you’re intending to sell it to.
Bridging the gap between the techies and the consumer (or user, customer – depending on your market) is critical to increase the likelihood of success of your million-dollar idea. Delivering successful outcomes (and income) needs strong business acumen (“fluff”).
Great piece here on key success factors for online product development. Worth a quick review if you’re struggling.
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About the Author | Chris Enstrom, MBA
Bringing a passion for digital business solutions and building client value, Chris has 20 years applied leadership and consulting experience. With broad cross-industry experience with organizations of all types and sizes, Chris offers a unique perspective on a variety of strategic organizational and technology issues. A systems thinker by nature, Chris offers clients an unobstructed wide-angle lens to tactical and strategic opportunities and offers value in delivering specific and measurable roadmaps for clients.