Product Development at Frank Health

Posted 14 Nov, 2017
by Michael

At Frank, we have years of experience building high quality websites for our clients alongside other digital and print services. As we continue to grow as a digital provider, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the quality of the products that we provide to our clients, both existing and new.

One of the many ways that we have improved our products is to use all our past projects as learning experiences. By performing a technical review, we can learn what worked well on the digital side of things, and can optimise the process of making newly introduced features.

Perhaps more importantly, whenever possible, we like to have a post-project review with the clients themselves to find out what parts of the product work the best for them. Not just how they work technically, but how well they meet their own needs. By doing so, we can prioritise improvements on features that are more relevant to clients and their users. Thanks to client and user feedback, this list of priorities is ordered not by personal preference on our part, but by those that use our products on a regular basis.

Essentially, we aim to avoid doing this:

  1. An individual or group in our team comes up with a product idea
  2. We put our time and resources into building that product, with as many features as possible
  3. Launch it and hope that people want and/or need that product

Doing the above would be a two-fold problem. Firstly, it’s simply bad business. Putting so much time and resources into an untested idea is a self-imposed lottery. There’s no indication of success during any of the product development process.

Secondly, a product created in this way has been created in a vacuum that has at no point considered client and user needs. Even if it finds some success, it will be through luck and coincidence rather than a targeted approach at helping clients and users.

To avoid these problems during product development, we instead aim do to the following:

  1. Speak to multiple existing and new clients about their most urgent needs. E.g. Internal business needs, or feedback they have received from their existing customers/users about their current product/service
  2. Create a prioritised list of client/user needs
  3. Start at the top of the list and come up with solutions through new product ideas
  4. Create the minimum viable product to meet those needs

The main benefit of this approach is that from the very start, it takes actual client and user needs and uses them to inform what the new product should be. Which is more likely to guarantee that there is appetite for the solution the new product will provide, and ensure that the new product will be of actual use to people once created and released into the wild.

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Image credit: ShareTribe

The idea of a minimum viable product is also very important. By keeping the first version of the new product as straightforward as possible, we can then let the core idea stand up on its own. When it comes to adding new features, we will then get those ideas from the people most qualified to give such feedback – the people who use it. More than likely, we will receive better ideas for new features from the product’s users than from any other source.

Over our 10+ year history, Frank has been a reliable digital provider to both the public and private sector. And whilst we will continue to reliably provide our clients with websites and other products, our relationships with our clients has taught us that there is appetite for new services to meet a range of different needs.

Over the coming months, we will be exploring new product ideas and to meet these needs.