What is most important in a successful digital product? Smooth UX? Validating market needs? Scalability? Virality?
Of course, there is no single factor that will ensure your product achieves its goals. We must take all of these into account, alongside many other issues. But how do we cover them all? Facing this challenge requires that we focus on the right questions at the right time during the development cycle.
What to build?
Some of our most interesting work is done before a project even starts. Many clients come to us with a specific challenge they are facing, or perhaps just open questions. Our challenge is to combine expertise from diverse fields in both our technological domain as well as the world of our client to define a future vision.
Therefore, our focus during the ideation phase is on understanding the business context, customers, and competitors of our partners. Tools such as Design Thinking workshops help us come up with original, valuable ideas for products and services together with the people who know most about the business. This is augmented by extensive research and data-gathering. Concerns relating to technical feasibility are usually deferred – we want nothing to limit the reach of our ideas, and our Solution Architects can handle almost anything!
How to build it?
The role common to Business Analysts across most organisations is that of capturing the essence and particulars of the product or service that is to be created. This requires shifting the focus from the broader research and ideation into the smallest details of the proposed solution. While designers, architects, and testers begin their work, the BA’s input is key to keeping the team aligned and to enabling the vision of each team member to integrate with the other components.
While our BAs can get directly involved in technical and visual design (depending on the various fields of expertise), our main focus for this phase is to consolidate knowledge from all team members. With so much planning around the design, implementation, testing and analysis of each interaction, we must maintain a clear view of the big picture and how each element relates to the project goal. In this phase our focus is internal, but our actions are guided by the context and business goals from the previous phase.
There is plenty of information to process before, during, and after creating digital products. We can ensure the highest chances of success by focusing our attention on the most important factors at each stage of the project. Business Analysts are responsible for maintaining that focus, while never losing sight of the bigger picture.
Nobody has the winning formula for this process, but this structure helps us answer the most important questions and make the right decisions on the way to delivering truly valuable results. In the next article, we’ll discuss what happens before and after a product goes live and why it’s crucial to have answered the questions we’ve discussed here.