Priorities of many programmers: 1. New frameworks, 2. Clean code, 3. Reinvent wheels How it should be: 1, 2 & 3: Make users awesome— Thomas Fuchs ⛄ (@thomasfuchs) December 12, 2013
Clearly, if we work on bringing empathy into software products, we need some other tools to manage creativity than those found in programming.
Here are some tools, that I find helpful:
Business Model Canvas: Users and their needs are the fundamental driver behind any (software) product. The Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder is a great approach to explore ideas around needs, product ideas and the context. In exploring a business model canvas, you also might want to look at http://businemodelhub.com too.
Lean Philosophy: In the Japanese school of innovation, an important principle is “go and see”. Start with the users and their contexts. A related approach is the “Customer Value Map”, or “Empathy Map”, described by Alex Osterwalder, here or the “Empathy Map”. For this, we need to talk with our customers and experience the same as they do. This is topic of many discussions, also on the recent “Lean Startup” conference
Once you work with a canvas, and have ideas on a map, I found a quote by Coffeemug, interesting: “Pick a market you care about, and the best product in that market. Then think for a week how you could improve that product by an order of magnitude. List ideas. Throw them out. List more. When we’re talking about disruptive improvement, thinking about it in terms of “orders of magnitude” is hard, so try to think about it in terms of what huge, meaningful thing the users could do that they can’t do now.”
When it comes to planning a software product, I like the Product Canvas by Roman Pichler. Here, we are putting less focus on the constraints of a business, but more on the actual short-terms goals, and the expected outcomes for a user. This might help us in planning specific outcomes for users.
Playing with the above ideas is helped a lot by Bmfiddle - an online tool for exploring the Business Model Canvasses, Empathy Maps, and Product Canvasses. If you need help to plan your product strategy, shoot me an email or leave feedback below.