As a Product Leader, while we continue to evolve our product / platform, we aim to the magical cross-functional alignment such that we stay true to the promise of our product. We want to ensure that we build in our product, the value that we promise our customers. We used Product Principles as a solution to this challenge.

The need for change

During the Covid19-period, QR-code solutions were crucial for the restaurant business to keep its lights running. But now the context has changed. We’re moving from a QR-code based pure Order&Pay solution, to a Guest Experience Platform. This is where both, guests and the staff at the bar / restaurant, can collaboratively influence the dining experience for the evening.

At this stage, we needed to break free from the baggage of the previous QR-code-solution positioning. To start with, we worked on our market-segmentation to figure out which specific sub-segment we want to focus on. (More on this, later)

On the path to identifying our product strategy (i.e. who is our customer, what differentiating value do we deliver and how do we monetise the same) we felt the need to have specific product principles, that would be useful to make decisions at the edges. When a member of the team is conflicted on choices when building a solution, what should they base the decision on? While on the other end of the spectrum, when our commercial team talks about the product, when marketing writes about the benefits, what aspects should these team members focus on?

Experimenting with Product Principles & USPs

What if, …

… we asked ourselves, our USPs towards the market in every conversation are the same product-principles we follow when developing the product further?

Sounds like an obvious thing to do, but it is not the easiest thing to do! As the product evolves, it’s capabilty evolves, there’s tendency to focus on the features rather than the value. As we add new capabilities, it’s easy to optimise for individuals teams’ choices rather than one holistic goal.

So, how did we implement this?

Starting off, nailing down the (four) USPs

The Favrit Guest Experience Platform is the Fastest, Smartest, Easiest to Use and most Flexible. We arrived at these through a range of cross-functional workshops, several virtual post-its and debates. Some important considerations in order to arrive at these included the following. What feedback were we constantly getting from our happy users? How were they comparing us to the competing products they were using? Which messaging resonated well with our power users? There’s interesting learnings on this here in this book by April Dunford (Obviously Awesome).

Embedding Product Principles within rituals

By the time we got into the USPs, we figured a method to frame these as product principle. Each of these were given an elaborate description and mentioned as often as possible during all-hands, bi-weekly checkouts et al. We defined rituals where these principles were used actively. Weekly design reviews were cross-functional forums where-in the team would evaluate new designs, paper sketches, workflows in the context of the product principles. The thinking is – if we stick to the principles while we build it, the commercial team will confidently be able to sell the same advantages & benefits of the product. When driving product reviews, in essence, a forum to review narratives of upcoming initiatives – once we were past the “should we build it” phase, we explored “how should the problem be solved” through the lens of these product principles.

Leading to better alignment

We’ve seen some early results of this approach. As we executed these rituals, several in the team adopted the same mindset. If a developer, designer, data engineer had to make a trade off in technology choices, interface design, user experience —> they must be able to make that choice through these simple descriptions independently. With got to this stage with several in the team.