Opinion

Peter Paterson
Executive Director
A simple way to describe a product accelerator would be to say that it’s a lean and agile approach to product development over a short period of time.  Perhaps similar to a hackathon or even a design sprint then? Well, no, as there are some pretty fundamental differences between these approaches that makes each of them suited to a different set of business circumstances and goals – more on that another time though.  

 

Focusing purely on a product accelerator, this is an innovation method that allows organisations to quickly create and release unique products that meet end user needs while delivering business outcomes for the organisation.

 

If you have the business support in place to invest in developing a solution for a business idea, opportunity or challenge, and you want to get it done quickly, a product accelerator can help you go from concept to market in a short period of time – as quickly as 90 days or even less!

 

The cornerstones of product acceleration 

 

Product acceleration is an agile process where work in progress is released for testing and feedback during the course of design and production.  While this iterative approach is fundamental to the process, the criteria that you use to measure success at each stage are just as crucial to ensuring success as they will determine how the product evolves with each iteration.  At ORM, we’ve identified three factors that act as the cornerstones to our product acceleration process: 

 

Desirability, viability and feasibility

 

Cautious businesses often like to perform a market assessment against these three criteria up front, as it gives them a sense of assurance about the project’s outcomes, while digitally mature companies may start out with a product or idea in mind and be happy to develop the business case in a more agile way.  In some instances, it makes sense to start out thinking purely about the user experience and for an alpha release to focus on desirability before internally testing feasibility and moving onto a beta release which focuses on viability with a bigger group of users.  Whichever approach is taken, these points always form the basis of testing and feedback to evolve the product and ensure that it, ultimately, satisfies all three.

 

Product acceleration in practice 

 

Because of the agile nature of product acceleration there is no one size fits all approach, but most projects will include an initial period of upfront thinking and market assessment where a dedicated, multi disciplined team will focus on:

  • understanding of the problem to be solved or opportunity to be seized; 
  • ideation; and
  • product design (including prototyping and testing). 

 

The early prototype developed during this initial process doesn’t always need to be built using the final tech stack or even in code, it’s purpose is simply to test the hypothesis behind the product with end users and to validate whether it meets the key criteria. At this stage, establishing that the product is desirable is key – if we don’t have a product that people want to use, it won’t address the problems we have set out to solve and can’t deliver against any business case. 

 

If this key criteria is met in early testing, the focus moves to designing and building the product in the chosen technologies. By releasing versions iteratively and getting feedback at each stage, the product is improved through experimentation and testing until a version which is desirable, viable and feasible can be released to the market.

 

With the cornerstones met, rapid development with a product accelerator programme is also fool-proof.  Because how can your product be anything but successful if it supports your business objectives, works well and your users love it?  

 

Get in touch with us to find out more about taking your product from zero to launch in 90 days.