Methodology

Product quality wins the race

Egwin Avau
Founder & CEO
June 30, 2022

Through the course of 8+ years, we've been building a portfolio of digital products. As we turn specific expertise into scalable products, we see the same patterns repeating time and time again. Digital is on every board's agenda, yet the product paradigm is shifting slowly. In this article we'll share our perspective on modern product development.

The software sector has been evolving for many years from bespoke (project-driven) activities towards a continuous (product-driven) delivery model. The essence of the agile movement is the realization that product and business objectives are two sides of the same coin. Modern organization north stars are no longer driven by management opinions but primarily by user engagement, growth metrics and product delivery progress.

Software products should be looked at as digital assets. The more solution-oriented, substantiated and intellectually protected it is, the more revenue it will generate down the line. There is a systematic mechanism in turning innovative ideas into a lovable product version and iterating it towards product-market fit. That's what we do from start to end in partnership with people and organizations of all sizes (SME, start/scale-ups, corporates, VC, private equity).

We believe success lies in the symbiosis of specific expertise with a methodological product delivery approach. Create value or go home.

Product principles at the core

At the very center of our methodology is product orientation. We firmly believe that quality will win the race. A small but passionate team can stand its ground against large incumbents, as long as there's a strong, central product vision and mature delivery operations.

Essentially every product comes down to harmonizing 3 dimensions:

Every decision along the way should be considered from all 3 angles and discussed within a single product team to the maximum extent. It’s tempting to start branching out roles and responsibilities in the early phases, yet there’s a major efficiency gain in keeping closed ranks.

How to foster a product culture? Think big, act small.

Every product lifecycle has similar stages:

Across our portfolio we’ve worked in various industries (healthcare, procurement, education, etc) with different go-to-market approaches (B2B, B2C, platform plays, ..). We carry all learnings from the past 8 years with us in any new trajectory we initiate.

Operating principles

You have all cards stacked against you when initiating a new product development trajectory. Relying on a refined methodology is the best assurance to a favorable outcome. It's a base assumption that the product and business model will heavily evolve over time. A short delivery horizon and a flexible roadmap are key.

Most probably you're operating in a broader context in which you'll need to get buy-in from many stakeholders throughout your organization. 

Every team needs to find its own flavor of agile that works for them, but the cadence of concrete production delivery should be steady. Every release should be treated as a step towards product maturity where you balance new feature delivery, documentation and technical debt.

We describe our delivery model in a separate blog post: an operating model that reflects the day to day realities of product delivery.

Quality principles

The old startup paradigm was to build a quick and dirty minimum viable product. With increasing user expectations and ever-stricter regulations, we continuously raise the bar and benchmark industry standards with regards to non-functional quality principles. Quality is not an afterthought, it should be incorporated from day one. 

Most of these dimensions come together in the setup of the CI/CD pipelines: checks and balances that every release should run through. An efficient setup of these pipelines assures that the delivery teams can keep up a high pace of deployments while ensuring reliability of those releases.

Growth principles

The process towards product-market fit will vary on a case-by-case basis; you'll know it when it's there. Generally speaking this is the point throughout the process when you know with a fair level of certainty that specific actions will lead to (business) results. As you grow into those operations at scale, your product might be spun off into its own entity and you'll start to structure new dimensions (non-exhaustive):

Product development is an adaptive process during which only a single constant remains: users pave the way.

Working in close partnership

We partner with industry experts, research units, ambitious corporates, scale-ups and others alike. We love to go the distance from a complex problem statement towards product-market fit. We work either in a service-based manner (all intellectual property belongs to the client) or in a common venturing model (shared IP) where we allocate seed capital in return for a minority piece of the equity.

With a talented team of 50+ passionate crafts(wo)men, we love to go from zero to one and far beyond. We simply want to build lovable products that will effectively leave their mark.

The proof of the pudding

Please find some in-depth examples on our portfolio page.

Want to partner?

Looking to accelerate your product development or want to discuss a bold idea? Contact mathias.vriends@panenco.com or schedule an introduction call.

See also