Hour-Glass Model for Platform MVP

The Hour-Glass Model for Platform MVP

An MVP ‘thin slice’ allows the product team to align a key business process for clear desired outcomes and value to ones who are ultimately paying up. This thought needs a little extra when it comes to Platform MVP.

A platform (data or otherwise) supports multiple channels (desktops, mobile, voice, etc), business applications that consume data via services and data sources that pour data into the platform.

The hour-glass approach allows to establish a platform MVP: a small set of capabilities critical for the key business application, useful & usable for at least two more applications and are scalable for many more business applications.

Hour-Glass Model for Platform MVP

This approach matches the metaphor of an hour-glass. It is broad on the top covering a few business processes, narrow in middle for the minimal set of capabilities and broad at the bottom covering multiple data sources.

Platform MVP to Replace a Legacy Platform

When replacing a legacy system, it is common to take the Strangler Approach. However, for a platform, this runs a risk of creating a platform that was too close to the key business process and the relevant data sources. The platform runs the risk of being tightly coupled with that key business process.

The Platform Product team should focus on providing a minimal set of capabilities that would be useful for the key business application. These minimal set of capabilities should also be sufficiently useful for at least two other. The platform capabilities should be sufficiently useful for the other two business processes so they would invest enough time with the Platform Product team so the Platform ProMa can analyse their possible needs.

Platform MVP for a Business Process

Like in eCommerce, a business process consists of multiple important steps. Again, a ‘thin slice‘ or a ‘strangler application‘ may not evolve to the right MVP. The Product Team should identify key steps in the process and define ‘thin slice‘ or ‘strangler application‘ for each step. Hour-Glass Model for eCommerce Platform MVP

Conclusion

I have effectively used this approach for designing a Data Platform for a Private Bank. I have talked about this approach in my book on Product Management called #ProMa.

Image Credit: hourglass by Mint Shirt from the Noun Project


 

Product Thinking – UX Design + Product Management + Business Model

Before we start on Product Thinking, it will be good to understand what a Product is.

Product is something that is the result of a process.

Now, in software world, how does this apply. Let us see:

Product is something that is result of a software process.

This is better. However, is Design (Experience Design, etc) a software process? Not really. However, it is a process in itself. So, an updated definition then:

Product is something that is result of a design & software process.

Better. However, I am of the opinion that a product without a business model is neither sustainable nor a solution.

So, let us add that to the mix.

Product is something that is result of a design & software process and has a business model.

OK, there! Now we proceed to Product Thinking.

Product Thinking

Here is it in one diagram:

Product Thinking

Product Thinking is not the process of product creation itself. It is thinking of the product along with the whole ecosystem. The ecosystem is often a combination of:

  • Target Audience
  • Problem
  • Strategy
  • Objective / Vision / Goal
  • Features
  • User Experience
  • User Environment
  • Process of Making
  • Revenues

Based on Product Management Canvas, we can defined Product Thinking as:

Building on the value your customers will need to achieve business goals measured using related success and failure metrics with providing well designed experience using a well-defined go-to-market strategy and support.

Note: Need v/s Will Need

You will notice, I said ‘will need’ rather than ‘need’. Lot of innovations anticipate a need to create a new one. So, to acknowledge that, a ‘will’ has been added.

Note: Platforms v/s Channels

Platforms (backend, APIs, multi-tenancy, etc) benefit from System Centric design (eg: System Thinking) while Channels (apps, websites, devices, kiosks, etc) which humans interact with benefit from User Centric design (eg: Design Thinking).

Reference

https://designyourthinking.com/product-thinking-an-introduction/
https://medium.com/@jaf_designer/why-product-thinking-is-the-next-big-thing-in-ux-design-ee7de959f3fe
http://www.ddiinnxx.com/shuhari-learn-digress-transcend/
https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/product-thinking-is-problem-solving
https://www.devbridge.com/articles/product-thinking-build-what-your-customer-needs/