Less than 10% of digital businesses are commercially successful. In order to start and develop a digital business, you need to rethink the usual approach to organizing work and follow ten basic principles.
Effective Product Management
From the very beginning of work there must be at least one among the three top team leaders with experience in the field of product management, it is even better if there are several specialists with such skills. Their task is to formulate an exact correspondence between the product and the client’s needs, which he must satisfy. Such leaders must be able to formulate a common vision for product development, launch and promotion, monitoring product metrics and monetization.
A customer experience design specialist is neither a graphic designer nor an interface designer. His task is to build the optimal customer experience that the product user receives. Building customer experience requires iteration, when all hypotheses are regularly and promptly tested ‘on live clients’ — first from the point of view of the product concept, and subsequently — the demand for its specific functionality.
High-level Tech Experts
From the first day of the project, the team must have at least 5-10 high-level technical experts. Although the market for developers is overheated and to get an experienced and talented specialist you will have to pay dearly, you should not save on this asset. A ‘dear’ qualified developer is much more productive than an average one, and without superb engineers the project will not be successful.
Leaders Must be Co-owners
This will ensure their involvement and interest in increasing the value of the business, rather than meeting planned targets. The motivation, at least for team leaders, should be long-term. For example, they may participate in option programs.
Don’t Ask a Client What He Needs
Form hypotheses about which product will be in demand, and then constantly test their consistency.
Focus on Your Product and Product Metrics
First, forget about the number of customers and revenue. If you start to take care of financial indicators, the team will be tempted to catch up with traffic and make beautiful graphics in the form of a hockey stick that all investors dream to see.
Be Prepared for Change
Be prepared to change business directions or product paradigms, even if it is a 180 ° turn. Define objective indicators of the market reaction to the product and its changes — product metrics, build the process of their collection and stimulate discussion of the product strategy in a team taking into account the ‘market feedback’. The main thing is not to delay the decision-making process.
Delegation of authority
The team itself must find solutions. The team is responsible for achieving the business result agreed with it, and not for performing a specific set of actions leading to its achievement. Instead of fixing a work plan with a list of tasks and terms for their implementation, establish a clear rhythm of a monthly or quarterly discussion of what has been achieved (what has been done) and plans for the next period (what is planned).
Give You Team a Blank Check
Provide the team with the necessary authority, ensure its autonomy and remove internal bureaucratic barriers. If this approach to management is contrary to the culture of the main business, you need to develop a digital business in a separate perimeter. Imagine you are a venture fund that invests in startups. Create an investment committee with relevant experts, possibly external ones, and entrust them with making strategic decisions.
Give up the Traditional Budget
Give up the traditional budget and transfer to financial rounds. From round to round, the team must prove its worth and ability to make a product demanded by the client, as well as to demonstrate financial returns. If you reached your goals in the previous round, get money for the next. If you did not achieve, perhaps, you should change the team strategy or make important staffing decisions.