Digital Product Development — Accelerate Your Time to Market

21.03.2022 | 7 min read

A group of people huddled around a laptop screen.

There are three big drivers for building a profitable business: product market fit, time to market and scaling quickly. And the reality is that 9 out of 10 startups fail because they can’t build an effective strategy and operations around those drivers.

10Clouds is recognized for building digital products and innovations in different industries. During the 12 years of our existence, we’ve created what we believe to be the most effective process to kickstart your project, so that you can deliver these advantages to your company in the most time- and cost-efficient way.

Common challenges when kickstarting a project

When it comes to starting your product delivery journey with a software house, you probably first encountered offers of a condensed version of several workshops which covered specific areas. These might have included a scoping workshop, or design sprint, where the focus is on estimating, planning or drafting the solution. If you want to start building your product fast, this approach is not helpful. It will prolong the process and delay the market launch. As the market conditions change, ensuring that you’re able to launch your product in the next couple of months is your key concern.

There’s one serious caveat here: we don’t recommend rushing into a development project if you’re not prepared. If you haven’t yet spent time on Product Discovery activities and therefore can’t be certain about your product value proposition and its market fit, we strongly advise that you focus on this first: it’s much better to hone your product idea to make sure any bigger investment in its development will be worthwhile.

However, if you do have a clear, defined vision of your product and its value proposition, then the approach with workshops will not bring too much additional value to you - on the contrary, defining, conducting and summarizing these kinds of workshops usually prolongs the decision-making process, delays the project start, and probably increases the total cost of the product.

Take a look at an example below.

Even assuming that all decisions can be taken quickly, there is additional time related to discussing workshops, and then carefully going through the actual project proposal. What is more, the knowledge gathered during the workshops may not be fully transferred to the final project team.

You’ll have the choice between basically repeating the workshop activities at the start of the project with the team, to ensure that it’s fully aligned and can best support you (thus further delaying the start of the work), and doing a quick kick-off followed by additional calls or meetings throughout the project. Another factor to consider is that during the first two weeks of the project, there are quite often challenges related to technical setups etc. which mean that it cannot be counted as fully efficient delivery time.

All in all, based on what we observed on the market, you can expect your product to arrive later due to aforementioned delays to the project start and on top of that, additional delay related to lower efficiency of the team, if that initial knowledge alignment and product understanding is not handled well, it can decrease the efficiency anywhere between 10-20%.

Kickstarting the project with rapid estimation and lean inception

To address those challenges and reduce the costs, accelerate time to market and create full understanding of your business goals, 10Clouds created an essential process which lets you work directly with your dedicated development team from the beginning to support you throughout your business and product development journey.

As you can see, we’re able to start the project much quicker - and even a couple of weeks can make a significant difference in modern dynamic markets. It is quite realistic that in week 5, and in simpler cases maybe even after three weeks, you will sit down with your team to work on the Lean Inception and begin the project.

This approach is geared towards the most efficient use of your time and resources, both at the start of the project and during its delivery. You gain the time otherwise spent on talking about and participating in workshops, and you gain a team that is able to support you effectively and creatively, based on their solid understanding of your product and your needs.

The Discovery Call

We start our cooperation with a discovery call to understand how we can answer your business needs. Then we would go through the business and technical discussion to understand your product and goals, and assess whether the approach with Lean Inception is the right one. If it is, you can expect a ballpark estimate followed by a technical call where our experts will discuss the process and the main challenges related to the product.

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Rapid ballpark estimation and initial proposal

After the call with our business consultants, you can expect a proposal with an estimate of the costs and timeframe for your solution prepared by our hub of senior experts with a proven track record of productizing ideas through research and validation while thinking of design and user experience and launching them successfully to the market.

It will be followed by a technical call where our experts will discuss the process and main challenges related to the product to create a full picture of the development strategy.

You will get:

  • A ballpark of the costs and timeframe for your solution,
  • Technical assumptions,
  • A challenges and opportunities analysis,
  • A list of features defined on high level for your solution,
  • A dedicated team structure ready to start cooperation right away.

Project kickstart right away

Based on the above we are able to assign you a dedicated delivery team within 2 weeks from your decision to go ahead with the project.

From day one you will work with your dedicated team to define the product strategy, roadmap, scope of work, create technical and design fundamentals and just after a couple of days you will be ready to start the first sprint with people fully onboarded and aligned with your business goals.

Lean Inception

As a first phase of the project, you will go through Lean Inception which brings:

  • Time to deeply consider the product scope against your needs to avoid spending money on unnecessary features,
  • A quicker start of development - more efficient use of your time, limiting negative impact on time-to-market of the target product,
  • Higher confidence in the project team: knowledge built directly inside the development team; all team members share the understanding of product goals and scope,
  • One week to set everything up and start the design and development work seamlessly.

How we came up with this approach

The activities and exercises are drawn from our experience of productizing ideas through research and validation while thinking of design and user experience, and follow a logical agenda aimed at confirming the product vision and translating it into concrete backlog items, ordered and refined to enable the project work. The second objective is for the project team to confirm how the collaboration and communication will be organized based on our 10C Agile Method.

During the Lean Inception week, there is also time to deal with technical preparation, for example setting up environments, ensuring access to required tools, etc.

Day 5 culminates the Lean Inception with refinement and planning for the first 2-3 weeks of delivery.

The Delivery phase

Right after the Lean Inception, the Development Team will start its work on product delivery. Our delivery approach is rooted in Agile principles and values, you can expect us to use practices from leading frameworks like Scrum or Kanban. Thanks to Lean Inception, the team will be able to use its good understanding of the “why” and “what” of your product to collaborate on the most efficient “how” - knowing the expected outcomes and gains for the users, it’s much easier to design and implement good, lean solutions.

As the customer, you will be in the Product Owner role, leading the product backlog management. 10Clouds Product Delivery Manager will take care of the process efficiency as well as be your partner in managing the product backlog to maximize the business value of the product.

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The most effective process to deliver your product

The 10Clouds Lean Inception sets the delivery process up for success and allows the design and development work to be conducted more efficiently:

  • The team has time to prepare everything needed to start working on the product delivery during the Lean Inception week - it means less idling time related to waiting for access or environments when actual development should start.
  • More efficient refinement meetings, due to team members’ deep initial understanding of the scope and value we want to deliver
  • Development efficiency is increased if the development team understands well the business goals and therefore knows what to simplify, what to focus on, etc.

So, thanks to Lean Inception, not only will you start the actual development work more quickly - your product’s time to market will be shortened also thanks to the increased delivery efficiency.

All in all, this approach will shorten the time that you need to start benefiting from your product.

And a Post Scriptum...

You may have read about the Lean Inception as presented on Martin Fowler’s blog. 10Clouds’ approach shares some goals and exercises with this version, however our Lean Inception method is much more geared towards preparing for a smooth start of product delivery and thus also covers the components of project kick-offs, as well as backlog refinements.

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