Product Creation Essentials by Imaginary Cloud

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This presentation was made at the tech clinic of the Accelerator Academy, a business accelerator programme for high-growth companies with web and mobile products. It describes the things we have learned over he years at Imaginary Cloud, a design and development agency, about delivering great web and mobile apps, as well as running our own team which consistently delivers outstanding results for our clients.

Text of Product Creation Essentials by Imaginary Cloud

  • PRODUCT CREATION ESSENTIALS by Imaginary Cloud Grow your company as big as your dreams with a market leading product @imaginary_cloud !
  • Step back ! Why did you start your company?
  • Your Aspirations I am assuming that you want to create a product that: Users love to spend time with Attracts your target audience with the least effort possible Takes you as little time and money as possible to get right Is easy to implement, and also future proof Enables your company to grow as big as your dreams ! are we on the same page? ! !
  • How does your product help you meet those aspirations? The answer should be obvious. Examples where product leads the industry Tesla motors Xero in cloud accounting New York City - Michael Bloomberg commissioned Janette Sadiq-Khan to redesign the city Googles Android division is now design driven by Matias Duarte (went from quantitative to envisioned and of course: Apple ! !
  • My personal experience and why Im here to talk to you today Through my eyes (Olga Pavlovsky, @lplatebigcheese) ! Observed the creation of some of the first computer games: all about the quality ! Assisted: sale of companies with great products. ! Scaling of companies with no additional resource through the right back office setup. Key lessons Design is key Development is key Culture is key Project Management must fit the culture ! Vital lesson Always going back to basics, never moving forward before a current problem is resolved
  • The three basic model to live by (and survive)
  • 1. The three layers of effort You have many options for who you can choose to design and implement your product: an in-house team, an agency, or freelancers to name just a few. What is a must for you to see a successful outcome, is addressing the following three layers of work to the highest possible standard, at each stage of the process. !BUSINESS STRATEGY !PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION !TECHNICAL STRATEGY
  • The Common Problem Unless you have your very own CTO and experienced Product Designer, experienced in launching a brand new product in your sector, you will be missing the middle layer. The common reality is that this usually leads to the delivery of a product that does not match your business strategy. !BUSINESS STRATEGY !PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION !NOTHING
  • COMMITMENT DESIGN BUILD GROW ! IDEA At Imaginary Cloud, we believe that the process of product creation has 5 key steps Completing each of these steps in the right order provides the greatest chance of your product being a success: high quality, on time and on budget. 2. The five-step product creation process
  • 3. The three infrastructure options Products: Wordpress, Shopify Frameworks: Ruby on Rails or .net Languages: Ruby, PHP, C++, Objective C Speed & Constraint
  • Using these models Always, always start with the why Why Vision Mission Delivery ! ! 1. Who = 3 layers of effort 2. When, where = five step product creation process 3. What = three infrastructure options
  • The Product Design Process work plan Process stage Work format 1. Benchmark Pre-workshop research by design team 2. Personas Discovery workshop Follow-on implementation 3. Moodboard Discovery workshop Follow-on implementation 4. User journeys Discovery workshop Follow-on implementation 5. Graphic design Follow-on implementation Our Product Design Process is a 5-step journey to transform your idea into a tangible project plan with prioritised, precise requirements. The following steps will leave you confident that the time and funding you commit to creating your product is assigned to the right activities: For the rest of this presentation 1. Recruiting your team 2. Managing your team 3. When does outsourcing make sense? 4. How do you outsource successfully? 5. Managing projects and quality successfully 6. Planning for the future 7. Web & mobile development: key differences 8. Innovating and staying ahead 9. The subjects you asked to be covered
  • 1. Recruiting your team To become a market leader you must recruit only the best !
  • Guess what its back to the why and our three models ! 1. Why do you need them? 2. Who do you need? 3. When and where do you need them? 4. What do you need them to do? 5. How will you manage them? ! Make these decisions really well. And note - not everyone needs to be an employee, you need to be de-risking, especially on non-core staff.
  • Where do find them? ! 1. Your product 2. Your people 3. Your pitch 4. Your presence 5. Your peoples presence 6. Your website - the best impression? 7. Your offering 8. Your promotion: events, ads, job fairs 9. Your connections with universities and colleges
  • Goal Find the very best people who fit your: business strategy requirements cultural values work ethic and quality expectations Method: conduct three interviews business strategy requirements: first stage interview covers all the basic knowledge needed, at base level ! cultural values: second stage interview covers motivations and questions about how issues/problems approached ! work ethic and quality expectations: practical challenge, in person to evaluate the work style, approach, standard and interpersonal skills Interviews
  • 2. Managing your team How do you get the best from each other?
  • Build and grow the people, not just the team Goal Develop your people and achieve your goals through their growth ! Method Align your own goals with your peoples goals and development Envisage your path Evaluate the skills and expertise you need to get to these goals Understand your available choices and constraints Understand the deep motivations your applicants and team members Select your people according to those goals Always ensure their goals align with yours Grow your people according to your goals and their goals Remember, never, ever move on until you solve a current problem or concern. Youre responsible for peoples futures Promote and manage creativity Make only one person accountable for any one thing Never have double reporting Its bad. Always You must delve into the deep human drivers to fully understand people The risk: you create unhappy families by not having a nice environment
  • Materials and logistics matter Goal Use whats available to you to improve trust, engagement, performance and loyalty ! Method Find what your team values and make ways to make those things happen. Our experience: Make sure people have the right tools for the job before they have an issue People treasure a Mac much more than a [insert other brand here] A nice office makes better people, better work Go out to lunch, drinks and dinner with your team (sometimes) Pay - your choice, but ideally just above market average A regular meeting where everyone gets together and shares stories is a great team builder Financing a phone contract is tax efficient for everyone (but not everyone wants it) KITTENS! Meet peoples deepest human drivers using the things having a company allows you to do. Dont be greedy - youre in it together.
  • 3 & 4 Outsourcing Works great when you apply our favourite models
  • When should you outsource? Goal Remember that any choice you make is a trade-off Establish when it really is better to take an activity out of your in- house teams plan to further the business ! Method Review your roadmap - what do you need to achieve and when? If you dont have the in-house expertise and quality is critical: an expert external company can help Go back to the three models and understand the who, when, where, what Look at your team, understand what you can bring, and what the external company must bring Ask yourself a huge range of what if questions about what would happen in the in-house vs external company environment Only outsource when you have done this, otherwise youre not ready (an honest company will tell you when youre ready, but not all will be able to educate you) !
  • How will an outsourcing company see you? Goal See the world through your partners eyes and understand what drives them ! Method You must get in the head of the company and understand why it is hey want you as a client Understand why the company was set up - are the founders aligned with your own view of business and the world? Understand you must have RAM (requirements, authorisation, money) to run a successful project Understand that if you dont have RAM, some people will still try and sell you time. Be prepared to run Understand that if it seems too cheap to be true it usually is Understand that every cost saved, or research not done is made up in time you make up Remember: any work t