Digital products are in a constant state of evolution. As new technologies emerge, and the market changes, business leaders need to constantly improve their existing software products – no application is perfect upon creation.
Successful companies develop a clear strategy mapping out v-next (version next) in order to build on the current version’s success and prioritize improvements. By focusing on the following tips, you can plan ahead to create a v-next that your users will appreciate:
Research and analytics
Creating v-next is not about taking the old version and slapping on a few new features*– rather it is a holistic elevation of the existing application. Before you even begin to make changes, you need to have a deep understanding of how users derive true value from your product. If you haven’t been pulling analytics, start immediately, because you’ll need to know the user experience backwards and forwards in order to create a version that your customers will actually appreciate. Sure, your research may indicate that new features must be added, but you may also determine that some existing features should be tweaked or removed entirely.
As an example of what not to do, think back to Snapchat’s recent update. The changes left users extremely annoyed at how difficult it was to find snap stories – had Snapchat conducted more in depth research, they wouldn’t have suffered from a stock dip, or face so much backlash. No one gets their application perfect the first time around and the market changes constantly, so use your data to inform the decisions you make.
Pay off any technical debt
Now is the perfect time to take a critical look at the processes you have in place for your application. Take the opportunity to implement efficient methodologies – these are often cultural changes that can save you immense amount of time and money, allowing you to eliminate technical debt. For example, we’ve found that as companies work to modernize their code, test coverage quickly becomes their Achilles heel. It’s the first thing that gets pushed to the wayside when there is a time constraint, which leaves the project vulnerable to increased risk and can ultimately have a butterfly effect on the entire project. Creating v-next is a chance to re-instate high test coverage, and ensure all team members are operating under the same rules and regulations.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
When you’re tasked with modernizing an extremely old legacy application, it can be tempting to just trash it all and start fresh. Don’t. Just because the code is old, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. We recommend taking an abstract look at the existing code, and bridge the gap of old to new by focusing on a single component and layering it with APIs (application program interfaces) to solve a specific problem. By updating the existing code incrementally and tackling one problem at a time, you will be able to see immediate business value.
To learn more about the work 10Pearls does to help companies create their v-next, take a look at our services page, and reach out with any questions.