Around a month ago we published our product roadmap for how Cruited is evolving. Making the roadmap available online had several advantages. First of all, it somehow made things feel more real. The roadmap is intentionally vague and has no dates, but having it online for anyone to see still creates a stronger sense of commitment. (And if you wonder why it’s vague… well, that way it’s not only that we can re-prioritize; we are forced to continuously adapt and re-prioritize.)
Another point with having it online is that transparency about product development helps in our partner relations. Just a few days ago I was sitting at a meeting with one of our partner clients. Thanks to the roadmap they could see that what they’re asking for is already planned. And they could understand why it’s not our top priority right now.
Adding New Products to the Roadmap
We are largely driven by innovation (which our company name makes pretty explicit: Next Big Thing AB). But the roadmap so far only covers our existing products. In this blog post I want to share how we work with new Products.
Up until now we haven’t really had a process for this. We’ve been doing things as they come, and we’re gonna keep doing that to some extent. But we’ve also learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. So based on the experiences from these two years, we’re now introducing a new product development lifecycle.
The Product Development Lifecycle
We have to tackle the day-to-day activities of running a business. And at the same time we have to make room for completely new ideas. There’s a point in letting both things happen simultaneously. But there’s also a point in keeping the difference in mind. Brainstorming or sketching on something completely new with basically no commitments to anyone, is very different from solving an exact problem here and now for a paying customer. That’s why it makes sense having an idea about how we develop things.
Here’s how we think the lifecycle for new products will be:
- Idea. Ideas are everywhere. We try to always talk about them in the team. We sometimes write them down, and sometimes just leave them as mental notes. Being abstract and visionary is a good thing!
- Conceptual maquette. At this stage we make some first rough sketches, and usually draft some user scenarios. At this stage, there’s no technology involved. Research is essential. Trying out different angles is crucial. To learn, we deliver the intended value to real people, for instance as a concierge service, a wizard of oz test, in interviews, or simply over a fika.
- Working maquette. We bring the concept to a very first maquette. The point of a maquette is to validate/invalidate as many things as possible about the concept. We run lots of tests and users are invited so we can start collecting data about behaviours and use. Once we have reached some conclusions, we probably throw away the maquette.
- Prototype. This is when we’ve decided that the concept is promising from a user and business point-of-view. Now, we make it a working first version of the product.
- Fly Mode. The concept leaves the Lab and is officially launched.
What We’re Working on Right Now
- Tracks helps you discover the things that make you stand out, and explore the building blocks of your personal brand. Tracks is a working maquette. You can give it a first try for free (in Swedish).
- ”Job post analysis” is something we started exploring in early 2015 and that we’ve picked up again. When you find a job you really want, use this tool to make sure you get an interview. The tool is a conceptual maquette, and we’ve started with a working maquette.
- We’re doing Interview Training, basically as a wizard of oz test. This is a conceptual maquette, and there’s very limited technology involved. If you want to try, contact us.