Act like a startup

I recently presented at the AOP Forum on secrets of product success.  Twenty minutes to get through sixty two slides was fun; part of me tells me I need to slow down, be more considered and reduce the messages I want to get across.  Another part of me just says meh!

I ended the presentation with the below takeaway slide that is worth replaying here.  I believe that product owners need to start thinking more like entrepreneurs and their seedling product ideas more like start ups.

Think big: Start with a big picture, a vision, where you want to get to. This should be unconstrained thinking, divergent thinking before converging on the specifics.

Start small: Easier said than done, but this is the getting to a minimum viable product.

Fail fast: Get stuff to market quickly, test with your consumers and be ready to fail. If you fail early you fail cheaply. Realise that you have customers, users who are already passionate advocates of your brand. Take them on the journey of development with you. You not assume that everything you need to take to your customers must be polished and perfect. Don’t underestimate the positivity than can be accrued by engaging users in the development process

Grow success: Do not see the end of the project as the end of road. Getting to a first release is only the first step. Successful product owners will be engaged in a virtuous cycle of continuous design and continuous delivery. They can come up with an idea, a new feature and get it in to production in hours, or days rather than months.

Customer driven innovation

People talk about innovation but how do you make it happen? How do you engage your customers in the process; how do you rapidly move beyond ideas on the whiteboard to actually implementing them; how do you introduce tests and learn to continuously improve, or provide comfort in failing fast?

Combining agile software development and design thinking, it is possible to go from concept to cash at speed, placing the customer at the heart of the process.

This presentation that I have recently given at an Ovum symposium and the Shaw Innovation Mashup introduces some of these ideas and practical ways of making customer-driven innovation happen.

Better, faster, cheaper…

Here’s a presentation I gave a while ago to a bunch of senior execs, introducing the concepts of lean and agile to software development.  Many of the slides are taken from a presentation given by Richard Durnall which can be found on the ThoughtWorks website [pdf].  If nothing else, the slides about the problems with conventional development methodologies – that they take time, are not responsive to change and rarely end up satisfying all stakeholders, struck a chord with the audience I presented this to.

[slideshare id=657541&doc=it-forum-presentation1-1223980207243199-8&w=425]

Cutting waste: dump PowerPoint and invest in a camera

So you’ve run a workshop and generated ideas. There’s a list of points on the flipchart and diagrams on the whiteboard. What now? Write it all up in Word or commit the drawings to PowerPoint?

Stop! Ask yourself why you are doing this? Is it just to record the ideas, to socialise back to the group involved in the workshop? Creating PowerPoint slides is not always an inconsiderable effort. It takes time. That effort is waste.

Think of the purpose of what you are doing. Then take photographs of the flipcharts and whiteboard diagrams, paste them into PowerPoint, and think of how much time and effort you have just saved.

What does Web 2.0 look like?

Here’s a presentation I recently put together on digital strategy and what Web 2.0 could mean to a fictional jewelery company. It rapidly introduces some of the key concepts then presents a customer journey through a “what if” scenario. Apologies for the poor audio!

[slideshare id=1140985&doc=cdocumentsandsettingsmmcneilldesktopmarc02-projects45-dtcjewellery-090313063919-phpapp02]