Are you sitting on a breakthrough idea for a new product but don’t know where to start?
Launching a mobile app can help your business reach new customers and deepen your relationships with existing ones. At Livefront, we've been making incredible digital product experiences for a long time. Using that expertise we've created a quick set of lessons we’ve picked up along the way to help guide your efforts.
Lesson 1: Draft a Quarterback You Trust
A high-performing product manager is critical to the success of bringing your app to market. This person understands the wants and unmet needs of your target user, but also understands how to shape technology into real solutions. A great product manager has a strong set of instincts, but also does the work to confirm their hunches with data and sound analysis. They lead and serve the team, creating an environment where members of the team can do their best work.
Lesson 2: Relentlessly Ask Yourself, Why Should This Product Exist?
Take a long look at what about your product creates unique value, and figure out how to measure that with a North Star Metric. Free from emotion and personal opinion, your team can stay focused on the right reasons for creating the product.
Lesson 3: Emphasize Themes Over Features
Above a development task lives a feature. Above a feature lives a theme. Where a feature is an expression of “how”, a theme is a statement about “what” and more importantly “why”. Choose your themes wisely, as they chart the strategic direction for your product.
Lesson 4: When It Comes to Technical Debt, Practice Frugality
Akin to financial debt, technical debt can be debilitating. If you begin to widely accept cutting corners and taking on technical debt, you’ll find yourself unable to respond to the changes in your market, the needs of your users, or other influences to your feature set. Not to mention, a product fraught with technical debt is less appealing to investors who now see a road of “fixes” as part of what they’re buying or investing in.
Lesson 5: Understand the Implications of Your Technology Choices
No one has a crystal ball (but if you do, can we borrow it?). When making your technology choices, ensure you understand the long term aspirations for your product and choose technologies that align to that vision. Don’t become overly dependent on 3rd party solutions that can one day flake out or become obsolete. Finally, don’t become paralyzed by these decisions, but treat them as if they were any other business decision.
Lesson 6: Build Feedback Loops Into Every Stage of Development and Launch
Think of each step in the process as an opportunity to learn. Treat your product with a healthy skepticism at inception, during design, during development, just before launch, after launch, and with each iteration. Organize your team and its rhythms to maximize learning.
Lesson 7: Bring Your Organization Along for the Ride
If you insulate your team while you are building, prepare for misplaced expectations, confusion, and ultimately disappointment from your internal stakeholders. Give stakeholders a window in your progress, wins, and even losses. If you want your product team to have autonomy, you need to also accept accountability as part of the deal.
For a more interactive and in-depth delivery of this topic, check out our talk on the topic here! And if you want even more lessons we’ve learned over the 20-something years building digital products and mobile apps, reach out and we’d be happy to chat!
Livefront creates consumer-facing digital products people love. The agency works every day with Fortune 500 companies and startups alike to build custom software for mobile, web, voice, TV, and augmented reality. Learn more about how Livefront can help create your digital product here.
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