You know, product development kick-off might be a tricky phase for your team. There are so many things to cover and everyone just wants to start working on the product as soon as possible.
Let me introduce the list of things you should think of for the product development kick-off. I hope it will help your team start building calmly and efficiently!
4 essential steps for effective kick-off
The set of tools for tech setup and work management might differ a lot according to your product goals and resources. Usually, you strive to launch a go-to-market product with the most valuable features for customers in 2 months, so here is a toolset to start with:
The team gets together for amazing results. And results should be the main priority. But don’t be confused thinking that you shouldn’t pay attention to the process points. These are what will provide a predictable & comfortable environment for you to work and deliver!
Usually, we need to decide:
- how we work with scope (prioritize it, describe and make it visible to the team);
- how our development process goes? what are ready-for-dev features for us?
- how will the testing process happen? how do we define “done” features?
- how often do we want to release?
The final point is one of the most important ones. We want to try to release as often as possible, which very much depends on how we manage the process and points from above.
For phases of 2-3 months try to adopt 1-week iterations and release incrementally once a week.
Demos are an essential part of the team’s work as it helps everyone stay focused on the progress we have and plan. Use internal demos for the immediate team on a daily basis.
Wiki & onboarding approach
We don’t need to have extremely detailed documentation, but it is still a good idea to organize your product wiki and store essential information about what you do.
I usually try to keep in mind the onboarding approach — what information and organized in what way would help me as an external party (e.g. a new member of the team) understand everything about the product quickly and easily.
Sync with the team. Yep, that is quite easy 🙂
Try to agree and set up regular meetings from the very beginning for the team to get into the working mode.
Avoid scheduling too many meetings with the whole team — focus on dedicated meetings with smaller groups, e.g. designs call. And definitely don’t skip refinements - this is the best opportunity for your team to go through what needs to be done and how it implement it the best way. Make sure the team has stories description and designs in advance to get prepared for refinements.
The more we prepare offline, the more effective our online meetings get!
It might not be obvious in the beginning but having a minimum set of artifacts will help you organize your work much better:
- Written & visible goals & business objectives;
- Backlog management space;
- Progress & budget control;
- Meeting notes.
Once space to rule them all. Make sure you avoid using too many tools for work management and choose one to be the ultimate source of truth and work for the whole team.
We usually don’t have limitless recourses, so plan your work and compare it with actual expenses on regular basis, we try to do that every week (after delivery).
By deciding these 4 steps for product development kick-off, your team can avoid a period of mixed processes & feelings and focus on the features and results we need. A lightly organised work environment is the best choice for teams working on product MVPs. It is flexible enough to remain agile to changes but still structured to align everyone on what we are doing, why and how.