There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
– Victor Hugo
We have all had that big idea at least once in our lifetime which could be the ‘next best thing’ that would have far reaching impact in the business world. Most of us decide not to risk our comfortable lives while a few others go all-in on this new idea aided by technology to grow at an accelerated pace with commercial viability. That’s what startups do best, lead with innovation and technology at an unmatched velocity while taking big risks.
The key factors separating a startup from a traditional business is a significantly high level of uncertainty with the promise of rapid evolution that solves a unique problem which usually doesn’t have a viable solution as yet. Technology guarantees this ‘Rapid Evolution’ when done right and that’s where Product Engineering plays a crucial role.
“The product engineering services market is estimated to reach USD 1,003.12 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2016 to 2021.” – Markets and Markets
It’s important to work with careful strategic alignment never losing sight of your business goals when it comes to engineering a product that will help achieve business objectives.
Here’s what you should look for in Technology Partners as a startup when it comes to Product Engineering with speed and scalable architecture:
Focus on the Discovery to deliver Superior Product Experience
Product discovery is often undermined yet one of the most crucial aspects of product engineering done right. It is important since it helps the startup build a product that customers cannot live without – something that solves the problem while promising a great user experience, and therefore gets integrated into their daily life with ease, which in turn promises higher ROI.
When it comes to the startup world, you need to listen to the customers. Your target market dictates which problems they want resolved and just how – if you’re listening carefully. This is precisely where human-centered design approach, popularly known as Design Thinking steps in.
Design thinking can help you empathize with your target customers by coming up with unique customer profiles making it easier to get into their shoes and understand how you can solve their problems with your product. You then move on to defining the pain points, think-outside-the-box to ideate and relentlessly come up with proof-of-concepts until the entire team is satisfied with an approach. You can read more about the basics of Design Thinking in product engineering here – http://bit.ly/2LzaGGc
Product Discovery can be time-consuming but when you have strategic experts such as Cygnet on board, it becomes easier and never gets overlooked. For instance, Cygnet had to build a Blockchain Based B2B Platform for Anonymous Trading for a prominent service provider in the tech space, offering cutting-edge solutions using ground-breaking technologies across the Middle East.
Cygnet’s expert team analyzed the scope of work and developed this online marketplace powered by blockchain that addresses all the aspects of the future world of ecommerce. This blockchain based solution is the only ecosystem that allows verified yet anonymous trading of various products across the globe by various players (distributors, traders and resellers) with bank and insurance to hedge the risks. In addition, decentralized escrow system and smart contracts allow hassle-free transactions among the business community in the virtual space.
Streamline the Processes to reduce Time-to-Market
A startup is set to grow quickly, fail fast, and learn quicker to create something that works; it cannot afford to stagnate. The business process system in a startup has to accommodate streamlined workflow that facilitates quick decisions while eliciting consensus from the core team at speed with ease.
With time, this process needs to be easily replicated for other new teams on-board as the business is all set to scale. That’s how it becomes easier to predetermine the probable outcomes of each strategic move enabling the startup to make logical decisions with risk-mitigation within the set timelines.
For instance, an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) powered startup will not only be cost-efficient, it will also prompt higher work satisfaction while leaving enough room for ideation. RPA can automate manual processes, increase production, minimize human errors, boost employee energy levels and productivity that has exponentially fueled its growth. You can read more about it here – http://bit.ly/2KX1KaI
Most importantly, process management must allow rapid prototyping while accommodating frequent changes. Working with a technology partner like Cygnet that relies on Agile Methodology for rapid productization can easily solve this problem.
The Agile Approach
The agile approach is all about a passionate team that understands the importance of flexible processes that accommodates frequent changes leading to rapid productization. Startups need to be ready to embrace quick changes, rapid upgradations and routine tweaking adjusting to dynamic customer tastes and preferences.
The Agile approach makes two critical things happen:
It allows fast release of the product relying on an iterative yet incremental method effectively reducing the time to market.
The agile methodology calls for a fast release using an iterative yet incremental approach right from the proof-of-concept to deployment. This increases the viability of your product since you’re carrying out faster and better prototyping until you reach the ‘optimal solution’.
Since, startups battle with uncertainty and volatility, it’s important to tailor their short-term objectives to the agile approach when working with the right technology partners.
It gives the entrepreneur the clarity on the questions he needs to be asking.
Agile allows the technology and the operations team to operate in a clear context with well-defined roles. The systematic process leads to clear and quantifiable outcomes.
Some of the questions you need to be asking:
- What’s the priority of the task?
- Who’s the best fit to perform the task?
- What’s the opportunity cost?
- What’s the expected outcome?
- What’s the timeline to get there with strategic alignment?
As a result, the time for development, iteration, and hitting the market is significantly reduced thanks to shorter and faster feedback loops. It’s easier to keep all resources on track and carry out a much smoother implementation of the larger business strategy.
Superior product development can happen only with the support of seamless communication between the teams. It’s important to have feedback loops that allow both positive and negative feedback to be fed back into the process with speed. The entire development process moves at an increased pace giving the startup just what it wants.
However, at this stage, it’s imperative to have skilled product engineers who verify and build on the feedback the core team gives. These then need to be interpreted and thoroughly tested. Once the insights are received, the same goes back to the developers and the cycle continues until you get a superior quality product that’s ready to be marketed.
Cygnet’s Agile Scrum Methodology does just that and more with seamless inter-communication. Scrum is a lightweight, iterative and incremental framework for managing complex work. A key principle of Scrum is the dual recognition that customers will change their minds about what they want or need – requirements volatility, which makes it perfect for Startups. It allows:
- Quicker market release time maintaining equilibrium with budget
- Rapid learning cycles
- Customer focused
- Collaborative workplace, empowered teams sharing accountability
- Stable platform through automated testing
- Rapid, iterative releases to improve product
- Highly transparent process
- Ability to change requirements based on user feedback
- Unified and highly motivated team
When Cygnet partnered with the innovative startup BitValley for the Inclusive Blockchain Insurance using Space Asset, IBISA project our expert Product Engineers and Consultants teamed up with BitValley to analyze requirements, understand the industry challenges and the expected outcomes on implementing the solution. Based on the analysis, Cygnet’s team conceptualized a decentralized blockchain-based application to address the persistent limitations of traditional insurance practices. None of this was possible without seamless intercommunication between the two teams.