We deliver software in a constant stream of updates and improvements. We all have best intentions, are committed and do work hard to build great products. Getting delivery right will result in a reliable, predictable stream of outputs. And this alone is hard enough to reach. Who has worked with a team of strong software engineers, that were able to consistently deliver to the users, has felt the excitement and satisfaction that comes with it.
However, delivering is not enough to build a profitable product. It’s only half of the game, if not less. Great products are born out of the so called “dual track agile” mode. Marty Cagan and Jeff Patton have coined that term with a set of fundamentals in mind. It’s what happens when strong teams continuously deliver AND discover. Two tracks of work, performed by one team.
Moving from delivering features to your users to solving their problems, delivering solutions that will target their needs means a lot of research to get it right. Not just up front waterfall style, but constantly. Just as our teams deliver regularly, they also discover continuously.
We successfully transitioned from stakeholder driven solution delivery to a solid user-centric product organisation. With a lot of improvements ahead of us as an organisation - which we happily tackle together with the clear mission to get better and better each day. And by making sure we learn from the best. Because most of the things we do have been done before. We just need to make sure we apply it according to our needs as an organisation.
First, we support our product managers to have more and regular contact to our users. Those are primarily sellers and buyers of properties and the agents working with E&V worldwide. Once the product mangers where in contact, we made sure the whole product team understands the value of a stream of constant insights. Making our software engineers part of everyday’s discovery.
Second, we have invested in building a research infrastructure. While our data pool is much more accessible for the teams today, than it was two years ago, we made sure our users are as well. Depending on the market, we work with either pools of agents per market that are happy to engage on a regular basis. Or we recruit end users through agencies and campaigns to support us in our discoveries.
Third, we decided to strengthen our product teams by hiring product designers into the teams. A person that is purely focused on discovery and is able to holisticly look at the product from a user perspective. Continuously discovering with the rest of the team through data analysis, user interview, prototypes, user tests and so many more techniques.
Our blueprint teams now consists of a product manager, a product designer and a hand full of software engineers. Working hard on continuously discovering valuable solutions to our users that fit into our business vision and delivering those solutions constantly and in high quality.
Just as our product teams discover new things every day, we as an organisation discovery new ways of doing things - by learning from the best and applying it our way.