The best ideas fit on a napkin – and then? From the idea to the product.

The dilemma of product development.

From the point of view of the inventor (m/ w/ d) it is actually quite simple: He has the idea, usually it fits on a napkin, the developer implements the idea. But reality looks different and usually reveals an inevitable conflict: For the inventor, many details are unimportant, the developer cannot develop anything without clarifying them. From the developer’s point of view, the situation is similarly tricky: A new napkin every day, everything always has to be very quick and uncomplicated, preferably an MVP immediately and out to the customers. But often budget, time and content do not fit together at all.

To solve this dilemma, we need an environment and an approach in which ideas blossom on their way into technology and don’t wither away. By blossoming, we mean that the essence of the invention is reflected concisely in the project, that what is necessary can be distinguished from what is not necessary in the solution, and that the goals are achieved in terms of cost, time, etc. Who can do this? For this purpose, let us consider the task of the inventor and the developer and try a negative definition: it is not the task of the inventor to describe all details and it is not the task of the developer to invent details.

This insight suggests that there is a need for a role, which – according to our experience – is mostly missing in companies. A role, responsible for the detailed definition of the solution (product). A role that is committed to both inventor and developer – a link, so to speak, between creativity and the laws of nature. However, there is no profession that can be learned for this role, and thus the very competencies of this activity that are critical to success for the transfer of the idea to the product are often not available.

Possible solutions for successful product development.

From our many years of project experience, we can offer the following approaches to solving the dilemma of the missing “building blocks” of successful product development:

  • Layers of requirements: In software development, we get away from “the requirements” or “the specifications”. Rather, it is about the conscious establishment of levels of requirements, for example, so-called business requirements or technical requirements. The trick is that different roles are responsible for different levels of requirements. The inventor could define the business requirements, whereupon the developer defines the technical requirements. Important here: The requirements serve the idea and the environment, not vice versa.
  • Establish a solution architect. No house without an architect. No product without a solution architect. It could be the solution architect who structurally defines all levels of requirements and merges them into the overall construct.
  • Introduction of requirements proxies. Not every inventor knows in detail how to formulate requirements or has the necessary time to formulate requirements. The bottlenecks of these persons can be eliminated by so-called proxies, which take over the actual doing. This makes it easier and more efficient to generate content (business requirements) from “creative” workshops, which is then available to the next level.
  • Transparent procedure. The use of reliable and appropriate tools for project management and requirements engineering is essential (see our webinar on this topic).

Bei all dem ist wichtig, zu validieren und zu verifizieren. Requirements sind daf├╝r der bevorzugte Ausgangspunkt, um dIn all of this, it is important to validate and verify. Requirements are the preferred starting point for this, in order to mirror them again and again with the original idea. Because in the end, the only thing that counts is whether the solution does what was originally intended and whether the solution does it correctly!

Do you have questions, need support in this area or are you looking for a one-stop-shop for your product development? We are happy to be there for you.

By the way: we will also be available for a virtual discussion with our experts at the DIGITAL FUTUREcongress virtual from May 26 – 28, 2020. Ticktes for this are available on the corresponding homepage or directly from us at grohmann@digital-enabler.com.