Creating a new product can be a frustrating & expensive process for founders. Few founders know the right steps, are able to find good resources, can effectively manage those resources (especially for first-time founders) and - even after nailing all of those - the entire process can be very expensive.
This podcast caught my attention because one of the best-known product founders in the country is describing his process to build a new app. I've followed him closely for years and paid particular attention when he publicized his design process for a previous app.
In this podcast Kevin describes his process to produce the first version of a new product. He's currently working on a meditation app, so he uses that as his example.
Here are his steps...
Step #1 - Is there anyone else doing what I want to do? If so, there's no reason for him to build it. He downloaded 25 similar apps and noted their features in a Google doc, so he could see potential holes.
Step #2 - If there's something to build, he puts together a "dream list" of features that he'd like to see in the app. Not bounded by time...he goes down the rabbit hole to what could exist way in the future.
Step #3 - Then there's a process to decide what features he'll have at launch. This isn't just because he can't build everything in the beginning...founders are often surprised by the features that consumers use, so he'd prefer not to decide too much ahead of time. Not sure this is always the case, but he called this the "5 features that you must have at launch."
Step #4 - Then he'll talk with a developer & designer to get their feedback in case there's something that he is missing. This also includes discussing the app with like-minded friends and advisors.
Step #5 - He'll produce wireframes, so he has a clickable version of the product in InVision to get a feel for using it.
Step #6 - Works with designer to create beautiful mockups. He creates a private Pinterest board, so he can pin visual elements of all kinds. As much information as possible...specific app elements as well as general elements like color palettes.
Step #7 - Next he does design iterations with a designer, so they can jointly create something better than either could on their own. Then design is made clickable, so they can see the full product with design.
Step #8 - Once they are happy with all this it's given to the developer to build the initial product.
I've had the good fortune of discussing product over coffee with Kevin. He's one of the best product minds that I've met. And the process that he laid out here is the clearest process that I've seen on how to work through building a new product.
If you are particularly interested in product, here are all my blog posts tagged "product." Enjoy!
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 31:25 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Kevin Rose (@kevinrose)
Dorm Room Tycoon (@dormroomtycoon)
William Channer (@williamchanner)
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