In today’s digital age, where we’re used to having whatever we like, whenever we like, the financial institutions that serve us are working hard to keep up with the likes of technology companies, such as Amazon, Spotify and Uber to maintain user interest.
It was only recently, when delivering a presentation about Mettle’s approach to product development at an Agile Roundabout event, that I became fully aware of just how well we’re doing in this space.
I was proud that we could offer an example of success and share our learnings with the rest of the crowd.
Of course, we’re not perfect, and there are always improvements to be made. But here’s an overview of how we build products that are attracting more and more customers, and achieving stronger product market fit each day.
Understanding customer needs
Customers are at the heart of everything we do. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. At Mettle, product managers are responsible for understanding who our customers are and what they’re looking for.
We do this using a range of techniques – from wide-scale surveys and in-depth interviews to monitoring customer requests in our in-app chat and asking for feedback on our feature ideas.
We adopt the ‘jobs to be done’ approach (Clayton Christensen), to understand:
a) how our customers are feeling now
b) how our customers would like to feel in an ideal state
We then identify the ‘jobs’ that help get them from a to b. For example, a top ‘job’ for our customers is ‘help me get paid’, but there are 43 more.
Our cross-functional mission teams (the teams who build new features) are organised around the prioritised jobs to be done, to make sure we’re focused on solving our customer’s biggest needs.
Each mission team has a product manager who spends a lot of time collaborating with customers and researching to come up with solutions for these jobs.
Once an idea is born, it's taken through a rigorous discovery phase, where user journeys are fleshed out and prototypes are created and tested with customers. We like to test ideas quickly, so that we avoid pursuing ideas that don’t resonate with customers. It can happen!
Once we have a prototype that’s tested well with customers, and have done all the necessary collaborative work to get the idea into user stories, it’s put into the sprint backlog for our engineers to start developing.
It’s then onto our quality assurance team to thoroughly test. Once we’re satisfied everything is working as expected, we release the feature to customers.
But, it doesn’t stop there. One of the most important things for product managers is measuring the success of a feature once it’s been released. We use data to keep an eye on the feature, as well as monitoring any feedback, which we then use to understand if the feature is adding value for customers and to decide whether further improvements or iterations are needed.
Many companies struggle to deliver products and features their customers love, at the speed at which fintechs and other technology industries do. This is often down to culture and ways of working which may have been effective in the past, but are no longer suited to the world of today, where new technologies, regulation and customer expectations are increasing the need to rapidly deliver value.
At Mettle, we strive to give our customers a great product that meets their needs as business owners, but also to be a pioneer in leading the financial services to new, best-in-class product development methodologies.
Those of us in the product team are constantly challenging ourselves to question the way we do things and look to other players both in and out of the industry, to improve upon our ways of working.