The Most Common Mistake Digital Product Teams are Making (Hint: It’s Not About Ideas)

Most digital product teams are making the same mistake in their software development process over and over again. It's not about your idea, it's about who and what goes into your development process. In this blog post, we’re going to show you some best practices for digital product teams that will help increase your chances of success.

The Idea is not the most important thing

This might be the most controversial statement in this article. Yes, we know you have an idea that’s going to be the next big thing. But before we talk about how great your idea is, let's talk about something more important… your team! Do you think you have the right team?

This is by far, one of the most important questions digital product teams need to ask themselves, because your idea means nothing if it's not well developed. Surprisingly, the most common mistake product teams are making is not about the digital product at all, it's about how teams work together!

And that starts with building a strong team around you and putting together an effective process for developing digital products. Without this step in place, you can have the best idea ever and still fail.

What to look for before building your team?

Soft skills are often overlooked by companies, but when it comes to digital product development, these are a must:

Attention to detail: this skill will allow teams to produce quality outcomes by checking all aspects of work.

Communication: this competency will traduce in the ability of teams to articulate thoughts and express ideas effectively amongst every stakeholder involved in the digital product development process.

Collaboration: this means that teams will be able to work and think not just individually but collaboratively, playing a bigger role in building successful software products.

When it comes down to building your digital development team for creating great software - you can't focus your efforts only on developing their hard skills, you need to find the balance with a great suite of soft skills that complement each team member's strengths. You can't just have a team of developers, designers and managers and put them to work, alignment must be present at all times. Every member has to be able to talk the same language and understand each other's thoughts without having long meetings or going through several rounds of feedback.
- Melanie Pavajeau - People Development Specialist at Zemoga

Including people from different backgrounds, will help bring fresh perspectives into the process and eventually improve your final product offering. Diversity is not just an act of merit but also one that cultivates strong teamwork; valuable insights are generated through discussion scenarios leading up to great solutions. In addition, it builds trust between team members where relationships have been established by achievement, creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed - no matter their roots -to work together towards success.

After looking at soft skills, you need to assemble a killer team with the proper profiles:
  • Business Analysts that will help you chart the course of your digital product, map out all the steps and put together a plan to deliver your product with iterative increments.
  • Project Managers, who are willing to take the role of your digital product as ‘CEOs’ and be accountable for every aspect of your software development process, from idea to launch. They will make sure you never lose focus on what's important!
  • Product Managers who are going to be responsible for the end-to-end process of your digital product. They need to have experience in all types of software development processes and best practices around metrics, marketing, roadmaps and tracking progress.
  • UX/UI Designers who are experts in the latest trends and know how to make your digital product look awesome and design the experience that will help users interact and enjoy your product. ​​! Your UX Designers should be able to take this business case/problem and create wireframes that will outline how users interact with your software or mobile app; everything based on research.
  • Software Developers are crucial in the development of a successful digital product. Make sure to put together a team of Engineers who are not only the builders of your product, but also who provide valuable input on software architecture strategies. They will turn fleeting ideas into realities that are both functional and compelling on every platform they are released on.
  • QA Specialists, you need a team who is going to make sure your digital product has no bugs, crashes or other problems that might impact how users are interacting with your product.

Why should you care about all this? Because building a great team around these key roles is going to increase your success rate exponentially. This entire team is what will make sure your idea becomes a success! Without them it's just an idea… period!

It's time to rethink your strategy and how you work as a team.

Here are some tips for you to avoid doing these mistakes all over:

  1. Product teams should be inclusive, everyone in the company has an idea worth considering and it is the job of a product team to take in all this feedback and make something amazing out of it. Not every idea should be implemented, but you can use ideas from any department when building your digital products.
  2. This means that everyone works together as one team with the same common goal: deliver great software! Product teams are not isolated departments developing digital products in a bubble. They need to work closely with other departments such as marketing or finance, so they can know what the company's goals are and how this new product will help achieve them.
  3. No matter what: iterate! If you don't have a good feedback loop in place, you'll be stuck with the same problems every time and still think your idea is perfect. There's an old saying that goes something like this "If I had only one hour to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe." A good feedback loop is just like sharpening your axe, you need to iterate on the process so it can continuously get better and more efficient with each iteration. This might be hard at first if it's not something that has been done before in your organization but trust us when we say this will pay off!
  4. Set realistic deadlines and milestones: it's not about having more meetings but rather making sure everyone is on the same page and aligned with goals and requirements. Don't just go for it and build an MVP, your ideas should be thoroughly tested before you get too deep into digital product development.
  5. Speak with your team every day to find out how they’re feeling towards the project and what requirements they are working on, share content that you think your team members might be interested in. This will help teams learn more about each other's work and ideas, which can lead to team bonding, new ideas and ways of doing things. Motivate people and let them know you're there to support them.

Every company is different and every successful business has their own path to follow in order to succeed - but one thing remains true across all industries: businesses that are built on strong, collaborative teams and processes always win. The more you can empower your team to work together towards a common goal, the better! Digital product development is all about teamwork; it's not just about an idea or some code that gets written behind closed doors then launched successfully one day without any issues (yes, there will be many!).

Are you looking for an edge in your industry? Differentiation can be difficult, but it's easier than ever with the right team in place. Let us help you put together a winning team!

About the author

We help companies build better digital products.