Product development for a software company is never a walk in the park. While the development team might have the most innovative brains and the best of tech available at their disposal, the success relies on the team’s unity. When you are creating a new software product, it is important to never lose sight of the fact that it is not just the DevOps team, but also the other verticals like IT, finance and marketing that need to play as a team throughout the process.
It is not uncommon for various stakeholders to have different ideas, goals, and opinions of others. For instance, the finance department might not be dancing in the aisles while looking at the development costs or the UI team might find marketing’s inputs absurd and contrary to their own idea of the product. Such a fragmented and focused product development process is likely to result in an outcome that nobody wanted. However, an ideal product management process will not lead to such a scenario. It is imperative that the stakeholders focus solely on working towards the common goal of creating a top-class software product. Right from the drawing board to the eventual market release of the product, developers, UI designers and marketers need to cast aside their individual departmentalized mindset and egos.
The sweet spot of product management process happens to be that point where it merges seamlessly with the user experience teams. While the DevOps team creates the actual product, it is the UX team that ensures user-friendly outcome of the efforts. If they both don’t have a unified vision then the project is bound to run into hurdles. A product manager must make sure that the end-users get the best experience with the product and the UX manager must ensure that the product doesn’t suffer from any bugs, vulnerabilities or crash scenarios.
While the product manager is unlikely to have a detrimental mindset, he might not always see the logic in the inputs provided by the marketing team, or the features envisaged by the UI team. Technologies like AI and cloud have become almost synonymous with most apps today as they offer a smoother and more feature rich option for the users. Hence, the UI team might push for addition of more tools and features into the product and this has the potential of causing disruption to the original product vision of the developers. Subsequently, they would end up making half-hearted cosmetic changes to the product leading to a frequently crashing and complicated app that fails to resonate with the users.
Hence, it is the end users’ interests that must reign supreme for both teams. This is achieved by regularly conducting market research and beta testing of the product by end users. They need to observe how end users are interacting with the products, the functionalities they seek, and collect important feedback to be integrated in the future development processes. Hence, the UX and UI teams have the responsibility of creating a strong product providing users to benefit the most from the software and integrating as much functionality as they can.
The good news is that the sweet spot of cohesion between the two teams is easier to establish. This is achieved by merging them into one single project team responsible for all actions starting from development to deployment. Every decision is taken with complete transparency and with understanding and support of the different team members. This not only creates great products, but also ensures that improvements are steadily delivered even in the future with great consistency. However, reshaping the structure and work processes of the team is a time-consuming process that might take months and even years to fully implement. Thus, it requires a long-term vision and commitment of the team members. Becoming a star team requires long periods of dedicated practice and cooperation of all the members because unity of vision and action has the potential of leading to a streak of winning products.