Why Product Experimentation is a Necessary Investment
November 28, 2019
It is no secret that building world-class engineering teams is difficult. Forming a small band of exceptional engineers around an innovative idea is difficult enough, but once an idea begins to gain the attention of the market your team naturally swells in number and is required to meet new-found demand.
When great ideas become big businesses, a significant shift occurs that causes a change of priorities—from product discovery to product delivery. The desire to see the initial idea scale, reach as many people as possible, and have an impact on the lives of users sees all the tenacity and energy that brought the idea to life rechanneled into building and evolving the product as quickly as possible.
This drive, spawned by the need to commercialize an idea to realize full business potential, could turn into a huge downside when the future need arises to develop new products. The mindset that makes for masterful product delivery and execution, runs at odds with the mentality and methodology for successful new product innovation.
To be able to build at the speed and scale of an exploding startup, managers and CEOs begin to hire engineers who pride themselves on execution at scale. Rather than hiring pirates, who think, act, and build like mavericks, they hire naval infantry, who think, act, and build according to roadmaps and best practices for robust, scalable software products.
In this new model, the emphasis placed on the rapid learning and iteration needed to hone in on product market fit naturally gives way to optimizing for bringing stable, reliable products to market fast. In other words, learning velocity is replaced with engineering velocity. Unintentionally, one methodology replaces another. Instead of the business having two tracks that deliver value through product discovery and product delivery, a single-track model emerges. This one-track approach removes what we at Connected believe is the art of constant product innovation and delivery: dual-track discovery and delivery.
For market leaders, product experimentation capabilities are necessary for avoiding the trap of moving from disruptor to disrupted. Or better yet, simply being able to constantly outpace the competition through self-disruption. Are we simply talking about innovation? Yes, and no. New product experimentation is the art and science of hypothesis-driven design and development with a focus on identifying new features and products faster than the competition.
Of course this doesn’t mean destabilizing your organization and beginning again. Instead, executive teams need to create teams within the larger organization, where risks are embraced and experimentation is a must. Rather than focusing solely on delivery, product experimentation and engineering teams need the support, investment, and culture where their discovery, ideation, and prototyping capabilities can survive and thrive.
Establishing a product experimentation capability means fostering aspects of a startup culture within an organization that has shed its startup roots, where product experiments have space and time to deliver value. Yet these new product ideas need a place to land. Hence establishing a dual-track model where product ideas that graduate to production can rapidly move from idea to revenue-generating product in market.
At Connected, we have helped transform delivery-focused product and engineering teams into dual-track powered organizations. Our most successful partnerships have brought product discovery together with product delivery to ship new products and redefine our client’s position in the market.
It is these experiences that we’re looking to share during our Product Thinking event series. By bringing together engineering leaders, we are looking to further deliver impact to the product community through meaningful conversations. Because great product building is always a conversation—a conversation between builder and user, colleague and colleague, and leader and leader.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Join the Thoughtworks newsletter list to receive curated content that exemplifies our Product thinking approach.
Thu Dec 1
Global Day of Coderetreat Toronto 2022
Earlier this month, we hosted Global Day of Coderetreat (GDCR) at our Toronto office. After a three-year hiatus, we wanted to re-awaken some of the community enthusiasm when we hosted the event for the first time back in 2019. This year we planned for a larger event which turned out to be a really good thing as we nearly doubled our attendance. And in case you were wodering, this is how we did it.
Wed Nov 9
You’re Wrong & Don’t Know It: Process Biases
Process biases occur when you process information based on cognitive factors instead of concrete evidence, skewing your perception of reality, even if all the pertinent and necessary data is right in front of you. And in our third installment of You’re Wrong & Don’t Know It, discover some of the different types of process biases, their impact, and most importantly, how they can be avoided.