Improve the impact your product development process generates for your customer and your product business.
Let’s talk about how to find your customer’s bottleneck and what that means for providing them and your company with more value.
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Hey, folks, Sean here.
And today what I want to talk to you
about is my favorite way to get more of
an ROI out of your product development process.
And it starts with finding what
I refer to as the bottleneck.
So if you’re unfamiliar with this as a concept, you
can think of a bottleneck almost if you’re like, going
over a bridge and you have to go through a
toll, usually it goes from many lanes down to a
few lanes as you go over said bridge.
Now, that is kind of visually how you can
think of of what is a bottleneck, right?
It goes from high traffic area to a low traffic
area or vice versa, as in slowing the process down
considerably because you are funneling what was moving much more
quickly or in higher volume into what’s ultimately going to
move a lot more slowly or much lower volume.
Now, that is a good visual kind
of understanding of what a bottleneck is.
But to understand what it means from a process
perspective, the same thing happens when your customer may
be trying to do something much more quickly, but
something in that process, any given step, like going
through a toll of a bridge, for example, is
slowing that process down.
They may want to get from A
to B much faster, but they can’t
because something’s preventing them from doing that.
And that thing that’s preventing them
from doing that is the bottleneck.
So if you’re trying to level up your product
development process, a great way to be able to
do that would be to, through research with your
customer, better understand and find these bottlenecks in their
process that are slowing them down.
Now, in order to be able to do that,
as I mentioned, you need to do the research.
So you need to speak with them and you
need to talk to them about not what they
want necessarily in the future, but what’s preventing them
from getting what they want right now.
Focus on historically what they’ve tried to
do, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.
That’ll give you a much better idea for where
they need the most help and what may be
the biggest bottleneck in their process to date.
So if you start with that approach, it’s going to
enable you to find areas of opportunity to turn.
What I refer to is problems
worth solving into solutions worth building.
So let’s talk more detail about what happens
when you help them make this transformation.
Now, to me, by far the most exciting part about
following a process like this is it enables you to
calculate the return on investment built into the process.
And that’s something that doesn’t happen a whole lot.
In terms of the clients that I work with trying
to help them level up their product development processes, what
gets built is often not based on ROI or customer
value or even value for the business, which sounds weird,
but it happens a whole lot.
So what I love about this process is it’s
straightforward in going from the customer’s problem, looking for
the best area of opportunity to try to improve
their situation and quantify it along the way.
That’s going to be important as
we figure out how much value.
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Ultimately, building that solution to eliminate said
bottleneck is going to provide for them.
Because if that number is high enough, that’s going to
enable your product or your company or both to be
able to generate more value as well too.
In terms of if your customer is getting a
high enough return on investment, in terms of that
new solution that you’re providing for them in the
form of your product by eliminating this bottleneck, that
may give you the ability to generate more revenue
through your product, which is going to increase the
value of the product and the company as well.
So that’s the most exciting aspect of
this and that’s essentially how it happens.
So if you go from understanding what the bottleneck
is, which again, just to summarize, is figuring out
the type of progress your customer is trying to
make, understanding what is specifically slowing them down and
trying to make that progress, as in they want
to move faster, but they can’t. Why can’t they?
You need to figure out what that is
and that’s where you’re going to laser focus.
But you also at the same time need to understand what
the impact of them not being able to move faster is.
This is where you start to get
into the ability to quantify it.
So if they tell you, well, we could move ten
times faster if we eliminated this step or solved something
related to this step, that’s great, but what outcome is
that going to enable them to achieve?
If you can ultimately figure out what that outcome
is going to enable them to be able to
achieve, like, are they going to reduce how much
time gets invested into this process across an entire
team or the organization by 90%?
If so, that leads to a huge number.
As you start to quantify how much we’re talking about in
terms of what you would need to pay that team in
order to do and how much time they’re going to get
back, or maybe it enables them to charge more, right?
Whatever it is you want to drive towards
the successful outcome, eliminating that bottleneck is going
to enable them to be able to achieve.
So if you’ve found one, that’s
great, but don’t stop there.
You have to keep going until you get greater context
for understanding what eliminating that bottleneck is going to mean
for them, as in what transformation are you going to
help them be able to make once you know that
you have a better understanding for the value that they
will get if you prioritize building this solution.
So, like I said before, if you move from
what we’ve uncovered in eliminating this bottleneck is a
problem worth solving into a solution worth building.
You want to understand what type of outcome
that’s going to enable them to achieve and
what type of return on investment they’re going
to get as part of this process.
And if you understand that, you understand how to quantify
the value the customer is going to receive if you
provide them with that solution through your product.
And if you do that as well too, and that
number is high enough, that may give you an opportunity
to generate more revenue through your product because of how
much value you’re providing them, which makes your product more
value and your company more valuable.
So this is one strategy that I use on a
regular basis which can provide pretty immediate results in terms
of how to level up your product development process and
build return on investment into the process itself.