Building a product with successful teamwork
Matt Doyle is the founder of Launchcloud, an innovative software solution that lets you collect smarter data about your customers. All startups depend on teamwork - when there are only a few of you and things need to be done with efficiency and agility, it's totally crucial. Here are Matt's tips for building a product thanks to successful teamwork.
Successful team working will ensure you have a product that sells and gives the customer what they need. I gave a talk recently that got me thinking about how we went about working together as a team at Launchcloud. I broke it all down into what I believe are some of the most useful tips for really making a team work in the best way to get where you want to be - here’s what I came up with.
Define a Mission Statement
When you’re looking to develop a product you need to define the problem you’re trying to solve and what your purpose is for creating the product. If you don’t know this then, no matter how good the team is, they’re never going to be able to build a product.
Give your product a name to work with
Right from the start you need to have a name for your product. This isn’t the name that everyone’s going to know, necessarily; it’s a name that helps you to work with a definite product and which will help you see the difference between the development stages and when it goes live.
Know what success looks like
It doesn’t matter what your product is, you need to know what you want it to achieve so that you have a clear vision of what success looks like. What is it that you want your customers to get from your product? This is the target that gives your team a central focus. It’s amazing how motivating this focus can be; most of us work better if we have a goal to aim for.
Make feedback easy
If you’re developing a product you have to make it easy for customers to give you feedback; very few people get everything right first time and you often need help from an independent viewpoint so that you can see if, and how, you can improve. At Launchcloud we work with customers to see if there’s any features we can add that would be useful. They’re the ones who are using the product, so they’re best placed to tell us. You should always have a mechanism in place that makes it easy to receive, and act on, feedback.
This doesn’t just apply to feedback from customers either. If you really want to work well as a team, then you need to have a system in place for members of that team to give and receive feedback. This makes it easier to work together to get the end product you’re aiming for.
Feedback is a big part of learning, and helping you to get things right. You should always keep a note of customer experiences and the points that members of the team raise. Our team finds it useful to use systems like Trello and Evernote to keep a record of feedback and any issues we’ve identified.
Meet about the product
In a previous blog I spoke about how important it is to keep up with rituals; they’re the backbone of what you do. I said at the time that we always come together as a team at the beginning of the week, to look at our priorities and where we want to be with various tasks. I know that the day-to-day running of the business sometimes seems more important than meetings, but if you don’t have some structure then the day-to-day can get really difficult and disorganised. I’m not saying you have to spend hours talking over old ground; a product meeting can just be a quick get together to get up to speed and agree priorities.
Lean working is another subject that’s close to my heart, and that I’ve spoken about before. It’s really important to take a step back and look at all your processes so that you’re working as efficiently as you can. Not only does this make it easier for you to function as a team, as there are no unnecessary distractions; it also makes it easier to make decisions on how your product should look.
I’ve had plenty of experience working with the team at Launchcloud and I know how important it is to function as one and to pull in the same direction. Hopefully, these tips will help you to make this happen with your team too.