When it comes to developing new products, many of Capco’s clients place heavy emphasis on building out the product’s features in as much detail as possible. As a result, many thorough, well-developed products end up in the metaphorical trash can because jumping straight to feature development skips a key phase of product development: understanding the story of who you are creating this product for and why they need or want it. If you incorporate building a compelling story into the project, you can build the case for your product that excites leadership and improves the chance of it being taken forward to delivery.
On our product engagements, Capco believes that the basis for strong storytelling starts at the beginning. This most often comes to life in the form of a kick-off workshop, where key stakeholders come together and align on a few important things: the challenge statement that defines the tone of the project, the problems within that challenge we’re choosing to solve for, and who we’re solving them for. No product can be everything to everyone. Setting the foundation of a compelling opportunity that needs a creative solution creates the opening to tell the story of how the engagement came to the conclusions it did later on.
Once the project is in full swing, all the research, activities and testing should point back to that initial foundation. Does the research validate your initial assumptions about what problems are important to your target audience? Does testing make you change your approach to features and what actually is needed by your users? The answers to these questions and how you iterate on your initial ideas also makes for interesting storytelling, which wouldn’t be possible without the foundation of challenge, problems to solve, and audience. But with those in hand, they set the tone for your findings. Is your solution a big hit? Whether it is or isn’t, the outcome of activities paints a picture that then leads to the story you tell about the product itself.
Finally, with the story of how you reached conclusions in hand, you can then layer on the story of how the features solve the problem you set out to address. This should be woven directly into how solving these problems accomplishes your business goals – any successful product, while human-centric, still needs to work for the business. Weaving in considerations from business and technology perspectives is also a key aspect of storytelling, as many business leaders will hesitate to jump without more concrete justification of their investment.
But there’s one key element to remember even when adding the business perspective – the story should still focus on the people whose problem you’re solving and how those people validated that the features address their problem. This validation, along with including human elements such as direct quotes from testing, artifacts and analysis from technology, and vocal support from the business make for a much more exciting and compelling story than, “this is our new product, and it does XYZ.” The people element, integrated with more traditional business considerations, are what make the story come to life. With a story like this in hand, leadership often can’t help but to empathize.
If you’re a leader in the financial services space, keep this in mind next time you’re kicking off a project. Rushing to create a solution is natural, especially if the challenge is urgent to solve, but without a more holistic approach, it will be difficult, sometimes very difficult, to get the support you need to continue on the path to bringing your project to life. But with a little storytelling, your new product can truly shine.