Strike: Phase 1 - Plan

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Identify your minimum viable product

The aim of the Plan phase is to make sure everyone is aligned before we start. Working on a new business is exciting and we want to ‘move fast and break things but kick things off too hastily and we’ll pay heavily for it later on. It’s time to set the vision before empowering our team to deliver. The main activities are outlined below.

1. Outline the vision for your product in a single definitive statement

This is an important task to take time over and get right as it guides everything you and your team do. We utilise the ucreate canvas to start capturing and expanding your thoughts on the entire business. Holistic thinking is important as it gives us the context we need to package everything together into a clearly defined offering.

Once we’ve completed the canvas it’s then time to create the vision statement. We have a variety of templates to choose from depending on your business. It’s important to capture the problem we’re solving, who faces it, how we’re solving it and how our offering is differentiated compared to others in the market.

2. Draw the user journey and drill down into the requirements at each stage

Before we get started with experience mapping we outline and visualise your target persona. This then becomes a living document as your persona evolves as we discover more about them over time. With have our own template for this.

We then start the mapping by highlighting the start and end points for your persona. The trick is to avoid thinking too narrow as we will miss opportunities at either end. We then identify all the activities that happen between these points before questioning if these activities are needed and if any additional steps would be valuable.

Once we have the basic flow it’s time to drill deeper. For each activity we want to highlight everything a user could do as this is the perfect opportunity for blue sky thinking. The idea is to generate obvious and less obvious requirements and by the end of the session we aim for a long list below each activity. It’s now our job to use affinity mapping to group these items into distinct categories.

3. Utilise your research and rank requirements using the MOSCOW framework

We then build in our research alongside the product vision. Prior to ranking the requirements we will run step 2 with your persona for improved accuracy and new ideas. We then use the MOSCOW framework to identify what to build and in what order. It’s simple to use and we also find it to be a great starting point for discussions and debates within the team.

Technical complexity and risk are also considered when prioritising requirements. These two factors weigh in heavily as they change what we can build dramatically. We’ve created a simple matrix to help highlight these items and spark further discussions. If haven’t been through the Flash programme we create an ERRC grid, strategy canvas and blue ocean diagram to assist and visualise your strategy.

A concierge MVP approach might be required to mimic a capability and we are not afraid of trying something a little different to make things work. It might not be scalable at first but it allows us to prove demand for your product or a capability.

4. Create a roadmap aligned to KPIs that will help you achieve this vision

The vision we have set should be challenging and the likelihood is that it will take more than one iteration of your product to get there. A roadmap helps us visualise the path to follow and showcases how your product will evolve over time. The important thing is highlighting how we start delivering value from our first iteration.

With ranked product requirements we’re now in a much better place to create the roadmap. We highlight long, near and short term horizons with the level of detail decreasing the further into the future we go. We then set up a dual track agile system to monitor these items moving forward.

It’s important to link the business milestones/goals to KPIs throughout as we want to focus our efforts on the right activities. If an item struggles to visualise value we review it extensively to determine whether it is required. Our roadmaps are then adjusted throughout the process as new information comes to light.

5. Prepare a team that is capable of delivering ‘must-have’ requirements

Just because we have stripped back your product to the essential requirements it doesn’t mean they’re simple requirements. We use our roadmap to cross reference the skills required to build out capabilities. From here we outline the composition of your team and get to work to recruit the right individuals.

Teams vary depending on requirements but a standard composition at ucreate consists of Product Managers, Designers and Developers, or as they’re otherwise known hustlers, hipsters and hackers. The teams are never too large and they are always empowered to make the right decisions. It is the communication between team members that underpins their ability to continually perform at a high level.

Once you have your team in place it’s time for the Create phase. Click here