When we were brought in to work with one of the biggest retailer in UK all they had was a vision, and numerous failed attempts. The vision was to make people in their loyalty program more engaged in how they did business, to really hear them out and make product decisions based on their feedback to ensure the products that were taking up the valuable shelf space were products their buyers really wanted.
Now thats something most retailers would like to see, and even these guys had tried a lot in the past but failed to implement it properly. Sometimes the users wont be as engaged as they wanted and provide valuable insights, other times the insights would come, but not in time or in the way that was necessary to integrate with their internal business processes or product development cycles to have a real impact to the end product. And, in case both of these happened there was no way to measure what was the resultant impact to sales.
Thats where we came in, and suggested to take a thin vertical slice cutting across their user segments and business units to prove out; the product once functional will work end to end. Without spending a lot of time or money building it.
The other very important thing we did which had a real impact was; suggest a dual track delivery based on Lean principles. Instead of doing just one discovery upfront and going onto deliver from there, we chose to have two tracks as part of the delivery.
1 – One core delivery track to burn through the backlog
2 – A discovery track which will constantly prune the backlog with the Product Owner based on user research/interviews, workshops with business units and actual user stats collected by analyzing user behaviors and buying patterns of the users who were using out product which we were releasing to production more than twice a week
By doing this, we were ensuring that the product we are making is something that users really want and will be happy to interact with and, it would also fit well with the business teams without disrupting their current processes too much and causing additional overhead.
This meant, that the target to which our teams were delivering to was constantly moving. But, it was a good thing because we knew that what we were delivering had actual measurable value and it is something that users were asking for.
So, dual track delivery although quite hard to pull off, works really well and the higher user engagement and actual increase in in-store sales is proof.
How we went onto to scale this to a national audience is something for later posts.