Preparation – Beyond User Requirements
Businesses that fail to investigate and diagnose requirements develop software products around assumptions about users’ needs and likely behaviours.
THE BOTTOM LINE
According to the Standish Group, 64% of software development produces ineffective or substandard results [Chaos Report 2018]. Traditional Requests for Proposals (RFPs,) especially those driven by tech leaders without adequate business or user focus, are at risk.
“Businesses that fail to investigate and diagnose requirements develop software products around assumptions about users’ needs and likely behaviours.”
Other causes include developing software around assumptions about users’ needs or behaviour and not continuously assessing and responding to changing user needs during software development. Ultimately, every application receives user feedback; it might be through low adoption rates or complaints from users. Misdiagnosis is expensive but a product rather than project mindset could easily mitigate this. Products must provide a return on investment, projects focus on delivery and timelines.
OUTCOMES, PROJECTS AND PRODUCTS
The longer companies delay identifying the real user problems that they need to solve, the more direct and indirect costs they incur. A focus on user requirements alone is not enough. The right approach is to only prescribe solutions after identifying the underlying user and business problems and/or opportunities that need to be addressed.The most useful starting point is to fully consider the outcomes that your business needs. Carefully consider your go-to-market strategy – look at your product, your offer and your channels to market.
“Focus on user driven business requirements is critical, and a product mindset trumps a project one.”
Look for opportunities to support the achievement of your strategic goals, Solve users’ problem and make sure they want to use the software product – that is the only way your strategic goals can be achieved. Also, wrapping requirements within a project focuses minds on completion dates and budgets. However, a product led approach goes further because unlike projects, we expect products to generate a return on investment. For example, you may wish to increase sales or reduce costs, achieve better accessibility or usability, or maybe higher client retention. Therefore, adopt a product rather than project centric mindset to get this right.