Fast track to prototype

Objective = funding

Whether you’re raising funds for your product or trying to sell your product, the scrutiny your offering faces is the same: why would I invest in or buy that? As a visionary, you have an idea of how you are going to bring something new and different to a market and gain a share of that market. Our concepting process is about helping you communicate and visualise that. In order to do that we have to understand, challenge and document the core proposition.


The methodology is influenced by product management practice: combing a clear awareness of your goals as a business, the ability to correctly negotiate market and customer needs and experience in knowing how teams delver software in order to achieve the most rapid and effective outcome possible.


Best lead into real product development

Our methodology is not a template that can be downloaded off the internet, it is hinged upon working with professionals that have taken products to market many times. The material generated from concepting will not only prepare your marketing teams to talk about the product but will also inform the teams that have to build it.  


The methodology is influenced by product management practice: combing a clear awareness of your goals as a business, the ability to correctly negotiate market and customer needs and experience in knowing how teams delver software in order to achieve the most rapid and effective outcome possible.

The concepting process

Our concepting process consists of firstly documenting and aligning on the core proposition (the concept) and then beginning to capture the form of and structure of the product itself. The series of interactions are designed to work towards differentiated product definition as efficiently as possible.


The artefacts generated from this exercise are intended to equip your team with content that can be used in pitch decks, talking points for funding (e.g. how is this different), and to prepare the way for HD designs that actually visualise how your product will move to the forefront of its market segment.

Information Gathering

Fill in our template to provide all the information you have on your desired product

Independent Market Research

We'll spend time getting acquainted with your product space

Workshop 1: The Concept

We'll spend a half-day challenging the concept and ensuring we're aligned

Workshop 2: The prototype

Having drafted customer journeys and wireframes we'll get around them to adjust.

Part A: The concept

The information gathering and first workshop will address the following areas.

Target Market & Personas

We will help classify your target market broadly in terms of geographical placement, demographics and if B2B - industry and size.  We then extend this into elaborating user and (if applicable) buyer personas. We view product development not just in terms of the core app being built to meet a need but also the customer’s entire journey for searching for a solution and engaging with yours. This is important for design and development because as the entire offering is being built, both designers and developers will need to keep these personas in mind. We use these again to inform the breakdown of customer journey mapping.

Vision & Mission

We will work with you to ensure we fully understand your mission statement or will help you develop a targeted statement that articulates how you are going to make customers lives better. This is often largely influenced by market research and understanding the unmet need your product or service is going to step in and solve. The mission statement is critical as it serves as a north star to inform prioritisation and alignment of future effort. The cyclical nature of ideation and delivery can cause a divergence from purpose however we use this information to ensure the solution is always staying on target for the type of world you’re trying to create.

Goals & Metrics

How will team members know you are reaching the place you are envisioning? We will work with you to identify top metrics for your product success. These may revolve around growth in terms of users, retention, profitability or sentiment measurements such as NPS. In some cases your delivery team(s) may need to incorporate measurement of these goals into the actual build to ensure the product is on track. The goal metrics serve as signposts of progress along the way to your vision and are again used to help prioritise the gearing of UX considerations as well as priorities of feature delivery for your product.

Competitive landscape

Unless you are completely defining a new space, your product is going to exist in a space amongst alternatives for your customers to choose from. It will be important for your entire team (sales, marketing and delivery) to understand who your competitors are and how you will be different from the competition and in some ways also deliver the same parity of functionality that they do.

Key value statements

Before any design or development starts on the solution it is helpful to “write the press release first.” These dense statements are a sanity test for your product viability and provide sound bites for your team to use in pitches as they explain the purpose and mission of your product. These statements are also used to prioritise points of difference in marketing collateral and may even be considered for articulation of UX componentry.


For any given product there will be up to a handful of these statements and they focus on the problem or unmet need you will be solving in the market.

Revenue model

Unless you are a non-profit, at the end of the day your product or service will need to be commercially viable. We will work to understand your revenue streams and their types such as subscription, transaction fees, volume based plans, and partner revenue shares. Awareness of the proposed revenue model influences how the product is positioned from an image standpoint to how customers will onboard and interact with it. We can help you model projections for your product given it’s revenue streams, growth curve and estimated operating cost.  

Distribution

We will need to understand how you plan to get your product into customers hands. This could be via resellers, app integrations or partnerships, direct promotion, etc. The distribution methods you pursue will influence the structure of the product and how it is positioned from an image standpoint.



Part B: The Prototype

Having established the core concept elements, we will then work to put together the following artefacts and then review them with you in a second workshop.

Customer journey mapping

Once we identify who your customers are, the key things they’re buying and how they’ll pay - we can begin to define their journey for onboarding and using the product. Key setup and usage processes will be outlined which will begin to inform requirements of interfaces in these flows. We will ensure that required process from a regulatory or security standpoint are also captured here.


As mentioned before, the customer journeys begin as early as a customer gains an awareness of their need and begins to look for a solution. Therefore our journey mapping extends into the “marketing funnel” describing the journey beginning at awareness and then into consideration, conversion, onboarding, and usage.

Feature model (tree)

With beginning to understand the functional structure of the product it will then be possible to reflect the static structure of how the product is broken down. Whereas the customer journey looks like a “flow” the feature model looks like a tree and breaks down where features will sit in your product. It’s the last step before wireframing. The feature model will be leveraged to break down work on the solution that will need to be built to meet the need. The feature model is still user-facing in it’s nomenclature and is unbias to the various solutions that could be employed to serve the need. (e.g. credit card management versus which processor is used)

Wireframes & prototyping

Before use cases are drafted for delivery, assembling wireframes of a product is an effective way of visualising what it is before it’s built and designed. Wireframes are rough and rapidly developed layouts of screens that can be reviewed and adjusted internally or even shown to target customers to gain feedback on the concept. They are easy to adapt and change and help to finalise the scope of delivery before requirements are written.

Extras

We can also include any of the following:

Advanced competitive analysis

After identifying key competitors it is helpful to have in place the following information:


  • Overall profile on each including any information size, location, funding, etc.
  • SWOT analysis on publicly available information
  • Matrix comparison on proposed features once your top level feature set is established
  • Pricing comparison once your pricing model is established


These artefacts are very powerful in terms of providing a lightweight framework to ensure you can quickly explain, track and maintain a competitive advantage.

Projections

Modeling out your revenue streams against your costs is the ultimate way to validate and prove your commercial appeal. If you do not have this information to equip you in your fundraising for your product build, we can help assemble a spreadsheet projections that are modeled on a an array of operating costs against a standard product growth curve.

Use case backlog

The final step in concepting before any build or product takes place is the creation of a “backlog”. A backlog consists of a list of “user stories” that break down in detail the problems the product will solve for the customer. Again this is unbias to the solution being used to solve the problem. The use cases identify who the user is, what they are trying to achieve and how it will be tested that the need has been met. The backlog of use cases are a universal format for requirements that any delivery team will be able to understand. This form of breakdown of functionality is essential because it allows a technical team to size the level of effort to build solutions for each use case. Once sizing is available it unlocks the identification of a “minimum viable product.” That is with the budget available for building the product and the cost to deliver each feature, how much of the product can actually be built and released to the public as a usable version. This mechanism of prioritisation is used to govern subsequent releases to the software.