By 2020, there could be more than 75 billion devices connected to the internet, a combination of pervasive wireless connectivity and low-cost hardware platforms driving their proliferation. While this will present opportunities for product developers with great device ideas, many product developers’ projects will fail to meet expected financial goals. Declining R&D ROI over the past five years provides ample evidence. Our experience suggests that products frequently fail because of incorrect assumptions about customer requirements, that are often discovered far too late in the product development project cycle.
Agile development methods can help. With the right help and by following some key steps, product developers can introduce Agile methods to product development and gain some significant rewards.
Agile techniques constantly prioritize the most important features and customer requirements, easily changing direction without a significant waste of time or money.
Four steps to Agile
To help product developers overcome misunderstandings and move towards Agile approaches to delivery, there are four key dimensions that they need to consider.
Empower the user voice
Replace document-heavy traditional management approach with lightweight statements voiced from the perspective of the end-user, verified with valuable feedback captured from frequent product demos.
Prioritize and demonstrate differentiating features
An Agile mindset dictates product development teams to start work on a minimal set of differentiating product features, to quickly demonstrate functionality, seek feedback and validate early assumptions.
Adopt a fixed sprint for planning and integration
Fixed development cadences or sprints facilitate rapid feedback, focusing only on the most important features. However, for hardware teams, a longer fixed development timebox should be put in place.
Invest in product simulation/ emulation
Agile product developers need to decouple hardware and software teams. An all feature emulation of hardware transforms it into easy-to-change software—decreasing development time and increasing value.
Pillars' LOOP removes need of a physical product. It allows development of test scenarios as per client requirements in a controlled environment—decreasing development time and increasing value.