Working with new products

I’m fortunate to work in a company with growth ambitions and that also realize growth, in the long run, can not only come from improving the core products. Instead the company also need to push beyond what we do today into adjacent and new areas. We believe this to the degree that our entire organization is based around the concept of Core on the one hand and Adjacent & New on the other. I believe it’s necessary to have separate processes and even a separate organization for creating new businesses. 

New things are inherently more uncertain (they don’t exist yet) and therefore harder to forecast and plan. This means it’s hard to fit creation of new things into normal company processes.  Basic questions such as: “What do you expect your revenues to be this year” are expected to be answered and in Core this is usually not a problem. With new businesses however, these types of questions are at best a waste of time but could also harm the process by forcing teams into plans and expectations that are not the best for the new business. The new business need processes that obsesses over customer feedback and quick experimentation. 

With new businesses we work in three “stages”. The first stage is a very short (6 week) Discovery with a focus on really understanding the customers, their gains, pains and jobs to be done. After Discovery comes Nail-it. Given that we have found some real customer pain-points in Discovery this is where we try to build something that in a very simple way solves (“relieves”) these pain points. The things we build are very much in the MVP- style and we expect to usually throw away most of our code. Finally we have our Scale-it stage. In Scale-it we deploy our learnings from the nail it process and start building a real product that we distribute to more of our users through internal and external channels.

I currently work with a project in week 2 of the Discovery stage (i.e. very early). Next week I will start reporting on our learnings from this process, what’s easy what’s hard. So far I’ve found that frame-works that seem straightforward to use requires a lot of bending to stand the test of reality. More on that next week!