AID22122: You found yourself at a meeting with an entrepreneur, a few managers, and many ideas flying around the room



AID22122: You found yourself at a meeting with an entrepreneur, a few managers, and many ideas flying around the room. Their direct competitor had recently released a new application and the tension was palpable. The company wanted to go out with something new in the market, to avoid losing ground to their competitor.
They prepared a document with some requirements, a vague idea of what the product should look like, and how much should it cost.
“We have to follow what others have done, with a lower price,” the Marketing Director said. “We have to create a more usable system, which simplifies the user journey,” added another manager. “We have to change the way we collect information, simplify it and integrate our processes with third parties,” said another. “It will take us months,” the technical manager shook his head, who mentally translated all those requests into hundreds of hours of code to be implemented.

The product was hub communication software. This piece of software managed different channels (email to SMS, fax to VoIP) and it was created for the web and mobile platforms. The product was originally created a few years before, but its usability was poor. At the time of the launch, the competitor was far ahead in terms of user experience. Moreover, they had an excellent mobile app, which was gaining ground in the mobile app store.

Company X was a traditional process driven company, familiar with traditional projects. It had run a few Agile products in the past, but it was new to the idea of creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and testing it on the market. More notably, they feared the unknown. What if the new MVP would have an undesirable or unpredictable effect on their customer user base? This lack of control didn’t inspire confidence.

The meeting described above and the following ones did not lead to a clear definition of what the product to be achieved actually was. We only knew that we had to hit the target as soon as possible.

However as the project progressed and a competitor was beginning to gain traction, consent from the company was solidifying. Most agreed with the idea that: “We cannot afford to launch a half-finished product, we need a product that is working from the start.”

Despite some initial perplexity and fear, this was an opportunity to learn what would bring real value to their user base and potentially attract more users by making a streamlined lightweight product.
This prompted the company to look for approaches that they haven’t tried before, in order to have a complete product built on time even if it’s going to have only essential features at its launch. You’ll decided to use the Design Thinking process and focus on the things that would really bring value to the end user and thus, beat the competition by bringing only what’s necessary to the customer.

A. You have been asked to help them better empathize and understand their customers. What are the deliverables you will produce to document this understanding? Describe the content and purpose of these deliverables with short examples. (5 Marks)

B. Once you have developed a thorough customer understanding, you are expected to present insights and come up with a problem statement for the entrepreneur to approve. Provide the problem statement with supporting insights. (5 Marks)

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