Make the complexity of product development manageable 3 design skills for product managers and developers
When developing new products today, product and development teams deal with a lot of uncertainties. Pegasystems believes that approaches from the design world can help them meet this challenge.
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Technology, especially in software, is evolving rapidly and the needs of users are constantly changing. When developing new products, product managers and developers are therefore increasingly confronted with incomplete, ambivalent and fluid factors.
This ambiguity poses a great challenge to them because they are usually trained in solving supposedly concrete problems. A look outside the box can help. The world of design provides approaches and methods for successfully dealing with complex problems, inconsistencies and ambiguities.
Pegasystems, a software provider that simplifies complex workflows, explains three design skills that can help product and development teams.
1. See blurring as an option
The lack of clarity in product development should not be seen as something negative, but rather as an opportunity to create real innovations. Product managers and developers should be prepared for the fact that a new product can not be completely defined from the start, but must be constantly changed and updated during the development process.
In order to really live up to the users’ expectations, the product idea should be evaluated at regular intervals in the development phase using focus groups and end-user tests and possibly adjusted. This means: At the beginning of the process, the teams work without skewed solutions, and it only becomes gradually clear what the product will actually look like in the end.
Pursue multiple visions
At the beginning of the development, those responsible often already have a firm idea of their product in mind and follow it to the end. However, it would be better to develop more visions for the product around the core of the idea, pursue them side by side and assess which of them has the greatest chance of success.
If product managers and developers have set up several possible future scenarios right from the start, they can later flexibly switch in one direction or the other. It significantly reduces the risk of them getting caught up in a fixed idea that does not succeed in the end. Instead, they have the opportunity to create a compelling product from the core of their idea by changing the orientation a bit.
3. Develop overall empathy
To hit customers’ nerves with a new product requires a deep understanding of their needs. Talking to them and doing some research can help product and development teams to truly feel empathy with their customers. However, it is important not only to develop an understanding of the needs of end users, but also for those who make purchasing decisions.
The teams need to understand what potential customers’ business models look like, how they generate their sales, and how the new product can positively fit into their value chains. For example, if new software is only noticeable to customers on the cost side without creating any added value, they are unlikely to renew the licenses for it.
Maciej Szaniawski, Innovation & Design Lead EMEA at Pegasystems, considers these three skills to be particularly important components when training designers: “But we believe that product and development teams can also benefit significantly from them. They help them navigate the growing complexity of product development and move more confidently through a landscape where problems are increasingly moving goals and harder to determine. “