Think of Your Digital Project as a Product - Here’s Why!

Thinking about your next digital project? Think about it as a digital product instead. A product mindset fundamentally changes the way an organization develops, maintains, and evolves its digital properties.

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Geri Huibregtse
July 9, 2022

Thinking about your next digital project? Think about it as a digital product instead. A product mindset fundamentally changes the way an organization develops, maintains, and evolves its digital properties.

Here are just a few of the ways a product mindset is an asset to your business. 

It brings human needs to the forefront of technology decisions

To be successful, products must be something a customer wants or needs. With digital experiences, the same rules apply. Having a product mindset means continually exploring what your customers need next—solving their problems and exceeding their expectations.

So, before developing a digital experience, take time to understand the customer’s perspective with thorough research and testing. Understanding why customers adopt, use, value, and advocate for your product is essential. It allows you to create a decision-making framework based on what provides the most value to your customer and (ultimately) drives business success.

Research and testing are just as important after the digital experience launches. As customer needs and behaviors change, ensure the digital experience evolves with them. Once you’ve identified new customer needs, it can be tempting to make immediate changes to your digital experience. But changes—no matter how inconsequential or beneficial they might seem—can disrupt the user experience. Be sure to vet and validate those changes, too.                                                                                       

It makes digital experiences more strategic  

For product developers, a strong strategy is essential. Developing a product—defining it, building it, manufacturing it, etc.—requires significant effort and resources. It’s also often a race against time and competition. Getting a quality product to market in a timely manner takes serious forethought and ongoing flexibility.  

A product mindset challenges your team to treat a digital experience like a living thing. From preparing for its arrival to caring for it over time, you need a strategic plan with operational details. The plan starts with shared vision, values, and purpose that connect the development team to the product and the customers who use it. It also covers the roles, processes, budgets, KPIs, upkeep, and iterations.

Of course, the plan is just a tool. Its real value is keeping the team thinking strategically, seeing how their work relates to the big picture, and looking toward the future.   

It builds bridges between technology and the business

Many companies are used to releasing products, such as physical products or new services. From finance to marketing, they have systems around product launches, campaigns, and support. Although digital experiences are slightly different, using a product mindset can help people throughout the organization learn how to collaborate on digital initiatives.

Like product developers, digital teams need to create relationships with people throughout the business—from the CEO to Bob in accounting. When digital teams and their cross-functional colleagues collaborate regularly, they each learn about the other’s goals and challenges. The digital team learns why it’s hard for Bob to do agile budgeting, and Bob learns why agile processes help the tech team. Building empathy is key to a product mindset.

It cultivates an appetite for change

Product experts say, “product development is never done.” With evolving customer and market needs, change is a constant. That means product teams—including teams working on digital experiences—have to learn to embrace change. Luckily, change is growth, growth leads to innovation, and innovation leads to opportunity. Your internal team will develop new skills, your business gains a competitive edge, and the customer gets better products. It’s a win for everyone. 

A product mindset helps your digital experiences—and your team—thrive

Like any traditional product, your digital experience has value. When you start treating digital experiences as a product—with more customer input, strategic planning, and internal collaboration—that value increases. It creates a lasting, positive impact on customer relationships, your company culture, and the bottom line.

Looking to use custom software to change your organization? Contact us to learn how we can help make it happen.