Discovery Phase

01 Investigation

Idea attachment often clouds the minds of startup founders. Most of them skip the demand & value testing altogether and start building right away, ending up with, although innovative, revolutionary, and smart, products that no one needs. Our aim at this step is to not let you make the same mistakes.

We value our reputation. We value your time & money. We believe in the products we build and will rather miss a client for our development services & lose some profit than build a product the market has no need for.

Idea Crash Test

We delve deep into your product, competition, and business model and find answers to the following questions:

  • What issues does your product solve?
  • Who is the customer?
  • What do they use as an alternative?
  • How, when and where do they use it?
  • What are the pain points they currently have?
  • How will they transition?
  • How do you intend to make life easier for them?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How do you differ?
  • What will be the main features of your product?
  • How do you plan to monetize it?
  • Why would someone choose your product over others?
  • Is now a good time to launch a product of the type you envision.
  • Were there attempts to build something similar before? What went wrong?
  • Roughly, how much time & money would a project like this require?
  • Is the creation of the product feasible within the scope of your budget?

When we have an excellent grasp of your idea, our business analysts define the product features and their relative importance and work with you on alterations to the overall vision, if they are required.

Many startup founders create a vision long before they start investigating the market, their target audience and the needs they possess.

Consequently such a vision may be inherently flawed and predestined to eventual adjustments by the constraints of the actuality.

Clarification of success criteria

We believe that everything can be measured.

Our business analysts work with you to find out what a successful outcome of the project will look like for you, your end users, and the stakeholders, if any, in concrete numbers.

High-Level Customer Journey Maps

We depict and analyze one or several journeys of how your product will get users, identifying opportunities for improvement.

Each Customer Journey Map (CJM) has a specific customer persona, scenario and goals and is split into stages. By considering each stage separately, we identify what, how and when needs to be shown.

This helps improve the product itself and user onboarding. Detailed CJMs also let you achieve a better Product Market Fit by focusing on features that differentiate you from competitors and are invaluable to any subsequent marketing efforts.

CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP
Example (Switching Mobile Plans)

JUMPING JAMIE

Scenario: Jamie needs to switch her current mobile plan. She wants a plan that can save her money without having to sacrifice usage limits.

EXPECTATIONS

  • Clear online information
  • Ability to compare plan breakdowns
  • Friendly and helpful customer support

DEFINE

COMPARE

NEGOTIATE

SELECT

  1. Review current plan
  2. Define parameters for new plan
  1. Watches commercial on TV
  2. Researches companies and offers on consumer reports website
  3. Uses current carrier website tool to compare options
  1. Calls current carrier to tell them she is shopping around
  2. Calls competitors to see what they can offer
  1. Decides on a new plan and calls customer service to switch service

“I wonder if I can pay less.”

“That offer seems like a better deal.”

“Over it. I’m switching providers”

“Well, I guess that was all worth it.”

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Compare alternate companys' offers for her
  • Breakdown current plan into $ amounts
  • Customer support via text messaging/chat

INTERNAL OWNERSHIP + METRICS

  • Customer Support Team: reduce average call time to 2 minutes
  • Web Team: add funtionality to allow Jamie to compare plans within our site
  • Marketing Team: track competing offers to create competitor database

02 Product Validation

When doing product validation our goal is to check your idea for any oversights and provide you with actionable concrete suggestions you may adapt to improve your product concept.

Riskiest Assumption Test (RAT)

Product idea is a belief that there’s a need that can be covered in a specific way. It consists of hypotheses. During this phase, we choose the ones that will have the largest impact on your product and collect feedback from end-users.

When Yandex, the biggest Russian software company, needed to determine whether to develop a costly AI assistant, they had to check whether people would actually use it.

To test this, they announced it as a revolutionary AI technology, and placed actual people to answer every request. They found out that users proceed to use the assistant regularly after “stress-testing” it first.

Development started not only with proof that the product will be needed, but with data on what’s most important for onboarding and getting users to stick with the product.

Our experts possess a mindset that allows for similar creative solutions. They also lack attachment to your product which allows them to examine hypotheses critically as well as investigate points that founders often consider as given.

Depending on the circumstances, we use both quantitative and qualitative research to test hypotheses.

Quantitative research allows us to establish generalizable facts on the topic and test or confirm theories, while Qualitative research permits us to gather in-depth insights on various concepts and experiences.

Doing great things entails great risks and even greater uncertainty. Our aim is to reduce those by testing the most pivotal and controversial theories.

User Research

User Research is done through much the same methods as hypothesis testing, but with other goals.

We do both Attitudinal – (listening to what your customers are saying) and Behavioral – (watching customers’ actions through observational studies) user research.

It allows us to create a close approximation of your client’s behaviour, needs and motivations, which is invaluable in both product development and design.

Product Market Fit

Rather than suggest you build a product that will be used by no one, we examine the market, judge your Product Market Fit, and suggest alterations.

In some cases, this may entail making a pivot or even a return to the concept stage, which, although a setback, is much better than wasting funds & time on development only to do everything from scratch later.

If there’s a big need, usually there are a number of solutions competing to cover it. We also verify that your product will bring an actual significant improvement over your competitors. Otherwise, users won’t be motivated enough to switch.

Of course, there’s no way to measure DAU/MAU or retention at this point, but PMF surveys help immensely in identifying the real competition and points that have to be improved in order to achieve better Product Market Fit.

Unit-economy

An existing demand is not a validation of product idea fitness, by itself. People may not be willing to spend as much as you presume, or, for saas products, the break-even point may be too far ahead and unreachable without further investments.

We calculate the price of one unit for you to approximate the required balance between LTV and the cost of acquisition. Taking into account fixed and variable costs, we calculate the break - even point and the investment required to get there.

Economic feasibility.

Even If all your product idea passes all previous checks, a million things can still go wrong. The market may still be too small or over saturated. The technological solution may require too many resources. Attracting users may be too costly, intended profit margins too low, e.t.c.

We use rough estimates to calculate the viability of the idea as a whole, whether it makes sense to develop a product from a business standpoint.

If the target audience is so small that recouping product creation costs will take 10+ years, it may be a good idea to consider increasing the scope of the product to have a broader audience, pricing it higher, or adapting it to the unique needs of the market where your customers are more represented.

It’s worth stressing that at each of these steps, we’re not just looking for lapses in your idea. If we find some, we invariably suggest how they may be fixed, approached or even turned to your benefit.

After Product Validation at impltech, you can be as certain as possible that your product will be adapted to the real world.

03 Architecture & Project Planning

At this stage, we bring in our solution architects and developers to identify the best tech solutions for the intended product.

Microservices architecture design

Our architects bridge the gaps between planning and implementation by bundling all features, categorizing and prioritizing them and, subsequently, dividing them into microservices.

This approach allows for:

  • Improved Scalability
  • Better Fault Isolation and More Resilient Applications
  • Programming Language and Technology Agnostic design
  • Better Data security and Compliance
  • Faster Time to Market and “Future-Proofing”
  • Greater Business Agility and Support for DevOps
  • Supports “Two-Pizza Development” Teams

Schedule a free consultation with our representative at a convenient time to learn more about the benefits of this approach.

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Solutions stack definition

We define all the required technologies for your app, striving to limit the number to a minimum, but keeping in mind security, scalability, and how hard & costly it would be to find the developers with required expertise in the current market.

This helps avoid refactoring in the future and helps keep development costs and time-to-product as low and as short as possible.

Since various microservices can, if needed, be developed in various languages and/or in parallel, you can receive your product in record time and achieve faster time-to-market.

MVP Requirements & Roadmap

The goal here is to deliver 80% of the product doing 20% of the required development.

We determine which features and microservices need to be implemented in the MVP and create a concrete timed development plan - a Roadmap.

When planning an MVP, we strive to find a balance between feature - richness, difficulty of realisation and the ease of subsequent transition into the final product.

Preliminary project roadmap

Although subject to change based on new data, the initial project roadmap gives you a clear vision of the entire development process.

We prioritize features and microsystems so that the most vital ones get built first and create a roadmap which details the order in which every system has to be developed and approximate timeline.

This allows for a seamless implementation with no delays caused by unforeseen microservice dependencies or having to rework what was done during the MVP stage.

Time & Cost Projections

For you to get a clear overview of timelines and required funding, we make implementation and funding projections for both MVP and subsequent development phases so you can plan accordingly.

Although these projections may not be very accurate, based on circumstances and product difficulty, they give you a much needed estimate of what to expect from the development, what will be your Time-to-Market, what might cause delays, e.t.c.

04 Prototyping & Design

1. Wireframe
2. Mockup
3. Design

Product Wireframe

When doing Wireframes we define the main design patterns and the overall UI/UX design.

Wireframes allow us to test dozens of various approaches for different pages and user flows to come up with intuitive, pleasant and responsive designs that will make your clients enjoy your product.

Wireframes also allow us to rapidly test various design hypotheses and screen flow variants to quickly come up with terrific designs for your product or application.

Clickable Prototype

It is always easier to show than to describe. To this end, we create a clickable prototype of your product with select user flows.

Even though there still wasn’t a line of code written, such an approach allows you, shareholders and select representatives of the end user base to try out your product and see how it will function

This often highlights not-so-apparent flaws in user flow and expected design. We home in on the micro-interactions and fine details based on how users interact with interfaces to help them accomplish their goals quickly and intuitively.

Clickable prototype is also invaluable for doing qualitative research.

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UX flow Analysis & Optimization

We use the collected data to make adjustments to the User Interface and to define the User Experience so that customers of your product get value effortlessly and love your product.

We create diagrams for each user flow, see how it may be improved and how it combines with other flows to shape an intuitive UX.

Based on results we make alterations to UI and connection logic and improve the clickable prototype.

Design is often, ironically, one of the lesser priorities for product teams, when in reality it does wonders for retention, brand image, lessens the need for customer support needs and may even influence how much your clients are willing to pay for your product.

Identity Design

In a current day and age it’s not enough for a product to be simply functional. It must be memorable, noticeable, and fresh.

We fine-tune your company’s identity elements to establish an emotional connection between your brand and customers and make it memorable and eye-catching.

Style Guide

The purpose of a Style Guide is to keep the unique look and feel of your product.

This impression is carefully design to go in-line with your identity design to create the intended brand image and improve overall Customer Journey.

Through many iterations, it’s easy to lose track of the original idea and inspiration and end up with a conundrum of a design that combines elements of various styles and has no uniformity. This has a negative effect on User Experience.

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Key Product Discovery Deliverables

Investigation & Market Research

  • Documented product vision
  • Market state report
  • Competition report
  • Concrete, measurable success criteria
  • User Journey Maps
  • Workshop: Idea crash test

Product Validation

  • Riskiest Assumption Test (RAT) results
  • Product Market Fit report
  • User Research report
  • Unit-economy calculations
  • Economic feasibility report.
  • Consultation with a business analyst

Architecture & Project Planning

  • Microservices architecture
  • Defined Tech stack
  • MVP Development Plan
  • Product MVP Roadmap
  • Preliminary Product Roadmap
  • Time and cost estimates

Design

  • Wireframes
  • Clickable Prototype of app/platform
  • Product Style Guide
  • Identity design
  • UX flows

When we've finished a product discovery for you, there's a clearly defined architecture, technologies stack, user interface and core set of features, as well as solid understanding of market, the demand, and how you fit in it.

A timed roadmap, for both MVP and the subsequent development and estimations of man-hours required for realization of each microservice and feature together with cost estimates allows you to understand the scope of the project fully.

All in all, everything is ready to start development in an orderly and hassle-free way. Learn how we develop.

Leverage Our Expertise Through impltech Product Services Designed For Startups

Product Discovery
  • Get World-class experts working on your product idea.
  • Gain feedback from outside professionals and representatives of your target audience.
  • No obligation to continue development with us.
  • Results are stand-alone and can be used to organize development processes with another provider.
  • On-demand Non-Disclosure Agreement.
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  • You supply us with an idea, we take care of everything and implement it into reality.
  • Your product is developed by people with most context
  • People who build your product intimately understand its goals and end user.
  • Faster time-to-market;
    no delays.
  • 10% discount on product development
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  • Watch your idea get released.
  • Receive bi-weekly progress presentations and on-demand updates.
  • Absolute transparency, you have access to everything
  • Dedicated project manager.
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