Setting the Right Expectations to Build a Great Digital Product
Expectations regarding future digital products can be tricky. The market is constantly expanding, and the offers have a considerable range spread. How can you be sure you get the optimal result for your project?
In the video below, Teo presents a case study for one of the top clients from the fintech world, Confidas. He explains how the project’s early discussions rolled out. Lines were drawn to ensure the project was trackable and overall goals attainable.
The keyword for any project brief is EXPECTATIONS. The team created a solid and competitive digital product, sort of a child prodigy of projects. Let’s call him Charlie. Charlie is the brainchild of Confidas. We all had high expectations of Charlie for the future.
Part #1: What did the client have in mind?
Our first question to our client is generally, “What do you have in mind?”. Whenever our clients are ambitious and highly imaginative, they come up with a head-in-the-clouds unrealistic answer. The product is in a particular state. Before planning for Charlie to become a doctor, we must teach him how to walk. Right? Well, so is the case with most projects.
The initial plan of our client, Eduard, was to build a Web Application that would change the fintech industry in his country.
The idea was good. The plan to put it into practice was more or less missing. Expectations can’t be built only on one idea.
I love grand plans, but gravity keeps me grounded. I am not saying it’s impossible to build an ambitious application precisely the way you want it, from the first run, like a perfectionist. YET. When you come out to market with the perfect product, your competitor gets to test FIVE imperfect products. Their sixth is, go figure, better than your perfect one. Not to mention you have lost any first-mover advantage you might have had.
Therefore, we decided not to put unnecessary pressure on the poor kid and let him develop at a reasonable pace.
Part #2: The client thought better
We developed a proper business plan. The team agreed on which features to be implemented in the product’s MVP (the most viable product). In this phase, the client’s monetary resources were limited, so the features were trimmed to the bare minimum. We strictly went with the project’s core. No fancy UI/UX elements or integrations yet.
As the team was developing the product, the client focused on creating a marketing plan and attracting potential investors. He started sketching some design elements. It was the digital equivalent of a napkin drawing, something to put his thoughts in order.
Part #3: A very disappointing child
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we had the first delivery. The client wasn’t pleased with the design. His expectations were far different from what the team showcased him. Well, fathers are always a bit confused when they see the first ultrasound. At just a few weeks, Charlie looked to him less like a baby and more like a froglet. Therefore, Mark had a lot of anxiety about it.
He wanted to see much more. We knew a sketch on the drawing board wouldn’t get him to visualize the project properly. To align both parties’ expectations, the team showed him a couple of available design templates and applied them to the product. Now the product met Mark’s expectations.
Part #4: The first steps in life
The product now had an MVP that looked and felt friendly to the user. It was still missing features, a hard sell to potential investors. It was hard to differentiate our product from competitors’ products without adding more features. Investors were reluctant to fund the project. The team expected too much and got hit by the reality of the market.
It was time for a critical meeting with the client to discuss the product’s future. By the end of the session, we decided to trust Eduard’s idea and became business partners in the fintech product.
They studied the market and collected feedback regarding the flow and features. They offered the product to a limited number of users who made proposals for improvements.
After implementing the new changes, the team presented their project to several conferences and successfully attracted investors. They used the funds for further development and marketing.
Conclusions: Every project has its rhythm
The product is placed in the top bracket of the fintech industry. It is now meeting Eduard’s initially unrealistic expectations in the first meeting. Charlie is now a successful adult product. Let’s say Charlie is, satisfyingly so, a banker.
Always make sure your expectations regarding your digital product are accurate. Here’s a quick summary list of all the steps the team took throughout the project’s development:
- If you have an idea but don’t have an accurate plan, you probably expect too much from your product. Having goals is great, but you should also intend to execute them.
- Don’t expect the developer to create a design. Help him by using a designer and the tools specifically for this task. You may think that you’re throwing money out the window, but in the long term, you will be happier with the results, and so will your clients;
- Research your market and build the product around it precisely how it needs it to feel. Once you take your product out to market, people might not buy it because they already use a different product that does the same thing.
- Don’t expect people to invest in your product because you love it. Your product should bring value and convince people they can make money if they invest in it. Your child is your child, but once it’s out the door, it needs to prove his worth, just like everyone else.
I hope reading this, you will be able to have more realistic expectations about your product, its impact on the market, and how far you can reach with it compared to its actual development stage.
Aim high, plan and execute!
If you want our input on your digital products, feel free to book a free strategy call with Teo, Neo Vision’s COO.
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