The Skinny on “Lean”
by Rachelle Avery on June 22, 2016
Here at OmniUpdate, our product development process reflects something very simple, yet integral to our mission: in order to develop products our customers really want, they must be involved in the process. We are incredibly lucky to have such a collaborative user community. We truly have the best customers, and we are so grateful that they are always willing to send us ideas and feedback. Not many companies let their customers dictate the product roadmap – what a lost opportunity! We want our customers to succeed, and we want to create products that will help them do so. Our customers give us true insight into what is useful, valued, and needed. In order to build tools they will treasure, we must partner with them in the development process.
This past April, we took customer engagement to the next level when we released version 0 of our newest module, OU Alerts™. OU Alerts gives users the ability to quickly update their website when unforeseen events occur. Whether they face severe weather, power outages, or campus emergencies, OU Alerts allows them to use their website as a vehicle for this communication and even push out alerts to Facebook and Twitter.
We’ve never had a version “0” release before, so it’s new territory for us. What does version 0 mean, you ask? We took a lean approach with OU Alerts and kept the design to a minimum for the initial launch. Rather than spending time and resources developing features without customer input, we wanted to get the module in their hands as soon as possible to see what they like and dislike.
We offered version 0 to customers for free for a limited time, and we are letting them determine the future of the module. Customers have 4 months to experiment with OU Alerts, and they have multiple channels to provide feedback on features and functionality. We have received an overwhelming response to version 0 so far. Our customers continue to share their invaluable assessments of OU Alerts, and each of their responses helps build a collective vision of what it will become.
Implementing the lean process has given us an in-depth understanding of what we’ve done well and what we need to improve. But, more importantly, it has reinvigorated our passion for what it’s all really about: our customers. So, what does the future hold for OU Alerts? Stay tuned...