What new capabilities should we build/not build, now?
What creates the most value - for this release?
How do you align your team's efforts to the value customers perceive - and more importantly, will pay for?
When you are deep into a project, especially a complex project with lots of moving parts, technologies, and different team skills types, it's a tough challenge to know what your team should be building now and what your team should create later.
And, even for the things that you do build, it is often an even tougher challenge to know how much you should emphasize what you do need to create. Do you wonder;
Am I investing too much or too little in this part of the offering?
What part of this effort should I emphasize - should I “gold-plate” – to win?
Will customers really see value here?
Can I cut back on "polishing" some of these – with no real negative effect?
Your situations: focus on what? where?
With time constraints, fuzzy targets and lots of options, it is tough to know what your team should build – now. And market feedback often doesn't help as it's challenging to get and often unclear and even contradictory.
What you do: guess and go, or “peanut butter”
Since you're not highly confident about where to focus you make your best guess and move quickly. Sometimes you have a sage leader that have intuitive insights and helps teams wrestle with these challenges.
Often for the capabilities that your team does create are resourced in the "sandwich model” - equally spreading resources - like peanut butter on a sandwich - across the project evenly. But this guarantees that you will have two error modes - risking a market flop and taking too long to launch by NOT emphasized what should be and overbuilding what should not.
And you also hope the Agile and Lean cycles will give you the insights you're looking for - but often they don't, since the reason for why a new offering flounder is so unclear.
What you want to do is:
Cut what you don't need, now – with this release, even if you may need it later
Emphasize and “gold plate” what will help you win in the market - the things that will help make a difference - what your team is uniquely good at creating and will give your offering a competitive advantage
Save time and resources by not overbuild the things we don't need to - deemphasize capabilities that just have to be there - but the market does not value.
Create Compelling in 5 steps
For this frequent challenge - you can break down key components into simple, addressable components - so that you can quickly define and validate a compelling, differentiating offering.
First, focus your efforts on the projects' biggest risk type. For most new projects this is a typical value prop vs. other risk types like usability, technical performance or Go-to-Market.
Define a precise, very granular vision - your hypothesis - for a release that would be compelling for the people most likely to adopt your new offering.
Align your team's effort to create compelling, differentiating, winning offering
Validate concepts – early, cheep, before bigger bets, bigger risks
Define and Create Compelling - for the people most likely to adopt your new offering while mitigating your biggest risk, fast.
Use these decision tools to emulate the same best practices that Gateway Adopters use to disrupt their own markets - always taking risks, sequentially maturing, prooving new concepts that the mass-market follows.