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How to turn an innovative idea into

a product in 2 Sprints 

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(2021 example-based 5 min read)

As the Managing Director of METRO’s AG tech company, Nadas Dan relies heavily on data to keep his company performing. Being a dedicated runner in his free time, he envisions a Strava-like convenient smart app to empower his organization to make more out of its data, KPIs, and OKRs.

first, YOU need solid planning and a seasoned product team

Understand

the problem

Generate solutions

Envision the final app

Envision the MVP app

Build a proof of concept

Dan feels that it’s important to avoid disrupting his company’s daily operations by taking away current employees from their current jobs and responsibilities.

 

After careful research, he decides to hire an external product development team and empower(1) it to build a proof of concept.

 

A six-person t-shaped(2) agile product team is contracted with a wide array of skills including, design thinking, Ui/Ux design, software architecture, and development. This team will use the above Google Design Sprint-inspired flow(3) to transform Dan’s idea into a product in two sprints (four weeks).
 

1. understand

the problem

On Monday, January 25th, 2021, the team gathers for the first time, determined to gain an in-depth understanding of the problem. As Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt put it, "People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!"(4)

The product team concludes that the problem isn’t a lack of reporting or BI tools; METRO already employs the best. Instead, they find that there are too many tools. The process is overcomplicated, and drilling to certain business levels takes an excessive amount of time. 

From a JTBD(5) perspective, the team determines that the app should act as the one go-to point for the organization executives. It should empower them in decision-making and taking, streamlining the process by making it take less time. It should be as convenient as using a running app.
 

2. Generate solutions

To quote Steve Jobs, "Good artists copy; great artists steal.” 

The team takes some analog inspiration(6) from Vivino (wine app - 50 Mio users) for ease of navigation, Strava (running app - 70 Mio users) for goal setting and benchmarking, in addition to some other more top-rated apps.

At this stage, the team is also beginning to generate a variety of solutions as they envision the perfect final app. One of the more interesting ones is the forecasting feature. 

 

Let’s suppose for a moment that you are a CTO and need to hire several developers by December 2021. The forecasting feature of this app will be able to predict and graphically display what you will achieve at your current pace, in addition to prompting you with smart suggestions. 
 

3. ENVISION

THE FINAL APP

As they get further along in their development process, the team makes decisions on which features to include in the final app. Their ideas and thoughts are all validated with Dan prior to being approved. 

The Ui/Ux designer begins the process of creating storyboards and low-fidelity frames. By involving the whole team during this process(7), they’re able to make it possible for the proof of concept app to be implemented in a short time frame.

In the final demo, the team succeeds in graphically displaying data more conveniently. Instead of using a pre-defined number of charts, the team acts on a per-use case basis. They determine that a Gauss-inspired density plot, for example, is better at displaying overlapping compensation levels than the standard bar charts or box plots with whiskers. 
 

4. Envision

the MVP app

As popularized by Steve Blank and Eric Ries, the team determines which features to include in the minimum viable product so that it is usable by early adopters who will provide feedback for eventual future development.

The team’s Ui/Ux professional gets to work on high-fidelity wireframes. This work is validated with METRO, and a final Ui iteration begins development.

METRO operates 680 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe and Asia. The team’s most significant breakthrough is how the newly designed navigation menu easily solves the drill-down of any metric to any business level and any location problem. A quick demonstration shows that this occurs in the blink of an eye. 
 

5. Build a 

proof

of concept

Upon narrowing the feature selection further, developers start working at the POC. Their usable proof of concept(9) application aims to confirm the MVP implementation will work as planned.

The front-end React developers test several charting libraries and styling frameworks and pick the most suited one. In the meantime, other developers from the team make sure the back-end connects seamlessly to several APIs specifically provided by METRO’s third-party data tools and platforms.

Although a web-based mobile-first app is more than enough for the POC, the team uses Capacitator, a “Cross-platform native runtime for web apps,” and prepares an Android apk file for the final demo. Dan is more than impressed with the extra effort to go above and beyond. 
 

the

Final App 

On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, after only two sprints (four weeks), METRO Digital’s Managing Director, Dan, gets to see the latest version of his app in action.

It is precisely as he envisioned it. It’s not just another tool to monitor KPIs, but a way of empowering his organization to make more out of the available data in a smarter and comfortable way, similar to a running app like Strava. 

Delighted by the fast delivery, product mindset, and high-quality outcome of the proof of concept app, Mihai decides to seal a deal with Equilobe to start building the MVP just a few short weeks later. 
 

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Do you have an innovative

idea? let's build it.

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You have a great idea that could transform your company.

You are a managing director or executive and a $20k per Sprint budget is something you can manage.

You are willing to empower a product team to tailor and build the best solution for you.
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