Insights | By Howard Tiersky

5 Steps to Improve Digital Predictability

Many people in the digital field are drawn to it because things are constantly changing: new technologies emerge, business models shift, and consumer behavioral patterns are continually evolving.

It’s exciting (to me, anyway,) but many CxOs and investors like predictability. They want to know what’s going to be done, when it’s going to happen and what results it will have in the marketplace. Well, we don’t have a magic crystal ball that accurately foretells the future, but at FROM, we’ve found there’s a lot you can do to improve the predictability of your digital product development and launch process.

Each step in the Digital Predictability chain connects to and is dependent on the previous step. To up your predictability, just follow the chain!

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But what would digital predictability mean if we had it down to a science? Well, it would mean having an idea or vision for a digital product and being able to accurately state what you would need to launch that product in terms of time and cost, the optimal product form and design, which features and capabilities really matter, what the best UX and UI design would look like and what kind of uptake it would have in the market; not to mention how the product would need to evolve over time to maximize its potential.

You’d also know any problems in advance and could avoid issues in the development lifecycle, points of confusion, technical problems or wrong turns. Sounds good, right?

I can’t promise a crystal ball level of predictability, but I can introduce you to FROM’s Digital Predictability Chain. Each step in the Digital Predictability chain connects to and is dependent on the previous step. To up your predictability, just follow the chain!

   

There are five steps in the Digital Predictability Chain:

1. Business Objectives

To have a predictable outcome, you need to define what you’re trying to accomplish. This isn’t necessarily difficult, but it’s an important first step. Ideally, there are measurable goals, so you can get clarity around the problem you’re trying to solve.  

2. Feature Prioritization

Feature prioritization includes both the design and functional aspects of your product. Determine what your product needs to do in order to be successful and if there is any demand for the product in the first place.

3. Requirements and Development

The requirements, which can include the UI design, are a detailed description of what needs to be built. Loss of clarity between high-level feature ideas and the actual development process is one of the greatest risks to accurate digital predictability.

4. Quality

At this point, you understand what you want to achieve, and what type of product will meet your users’ needs. You have the details for what needs to be built in the hands of your developers and they've built it. But if the product doesn’t work quite right, fails on certain devices or crashes, you haven’t achieved predictability. QA is essential in the chain, so make sure to work feature, integration, performance, and platform testing into your project schedule.

5. Flexibility and Iteration

Successful digital products are not born successful – they have a history of change and evolution. Products that are most successful start out as one thing, are tested and iterated upon, and ultimately become the product that dominates its area of the marketplace. (Speaking of which, did you know eBay started out as a Pez dispenser trading site?)

And that’s your introduction to the FROM Digital Predictability Chain — hopefully, it’s useful. In the digital world, there will always be factors beyond your control, and it’s far from perfect, but utilizing this model can improve the predictability of your outcomes. Happy predicting!