How to build a digital product? 5 steps to achieve it

How to build a digital product? 5 steps to achieve it

Perfect formulas do not exist, but having suitable, disciplined and avid professionals allows us to get very close. The future of work has arrived, the world has become digital and IT talent is the king of this new scenario. 

 

New technologies have opened new horizons in the universe of freelance and on-demand work. Today we can find a wide range of disciplines and specializations  that are developed exclusively in the online world dedicated to the creation of digital products focused on satisfying and / or solving different needs.

 

The start-up world evolves very fast and if you do not have the necessary flexibility you can be left out of the market very quickly.  The key of a digital product is to find the moment when it is known exactly the added value you bring to the customer and  they  perceive it in the same way. It is at that moment, in which you understand how to talk to them, what to say, how to sell and what really matters to them, when you can start to devise a digital project.

 

Designers, programmers, data experts, developers and project leaders are the necessary links to develop a successful digital product. However, talent alone is not enough; it is recommended to follow a series of ordered steps, without avoiding any, to achieve a successful digital product.

 

Many software companies tend to aspire to develop their products as quickly as possible in order to release them to the market immediately. However, the hurry sometimes causes skipping some of these elementary stages, which could provoke some misfortunes in the short or long term.

 

Talent validation is a very important preliminary step that acts as an efficient filter to lay the solid foundations of the project. 

 

Now, what are these steps to achieve an effective, agile and successful digital product? The following are the 5 unavoidable and unalterable stages through which a product under development should pass:

 

  1. Product thinking: in this level  the focus must be on devising and clearly defining the scope and functionalities of the product you are looking to develop. Thinking about what to communicate to users and what technical requirements to consider should be the first part. In addition, it is essential to identify the audience’s problems in order to create meaningful solutions that add value to customers. Also, the scenarios in which the product will be used are defined as a result of a research process and competition analysis.

 

  1.           Product design: in this step, UX and UI experts explore different ways to achieve a fluid and dynamic interaction between the product and the user. Ideally, different mockups are created to simulate each interface of the product before starting to develop it. The ultimate goal of the product designer is to create the best version of a requested product, with the available time and resources.

 

  1.           Software development: it consists of using the best practices and technologies to create a consistent product based on what was defined in the previous stages. The software developer is the one who translates into programming code what has been previously agreed with the rest of the team.

 

  1.           Deployment: this is the last level of the process. It consists of making the final adjustments to finally launch the digital product to the market and enable its use. It is here where all the previous steps are executed by the action of the users.

 

  1.           Maintenance: the final and key instance. This analogy helps to understand this stage: digital products are like living organisms that change, evolve and require a lot of attention to take care of them. Based on user interaction, changes that can be made to further improve the consumer experience are defined. Everything must work perfectly. Flexibility and strategic vision to define future steps derive from a thorough analysis of this level.

 Creating a digital product is not easy, there are many professions that converge and work simultaneously, remotely and asynchronously, all in pursuit of the same goal. So following these steps help to order and achieve good results.

Outsourcing Software Talent: a trend that is here to stay

Work structures and recruitment methods are changing and this creates new opportunities for businesses.

Moreover, the fact of choosing the more adequate professionals for a certain area, within an increasing variety of possibilities, opens up new prospects full of many advantages.

When going through these talent recruitment processes, the supply of candidates increases worldwide. Therefore, companies are forced to update and renew their working dynamics.

Although before it was more complex to work with external participants, nowadays many organizations prefer to hire other enterprises, teams or IT specialists so they can be in charge of the software development outsourcing for their projects.

It is known that large companies around the world have kept this idea for a long time. However, small and medium-sized enterprises now understand that this is also beneficial for them, so that they can obtain better results. This leads to an important question: which are the reasons for this phenomenon taking place more and more frequent and at macro level?

The global market of these services has a value of US$600 million. The companies must think of a new investment due to different reasons: the lack of time to make a recruitment process, the increased pace because of the boom of new technologies and finally the expansion of the outreach of the projects related to those tech tools.

This enables them to reduce not only the costs of doing those tasks but also the time spent by doing them. So they can use that time for other priorities. Also, they try to avoid the expenditures coming from this process being higher than the budget assigned to each project. That’s why the outsourcing is considered to be so viable. The fact of outsourcing this task to external and specialized professionals also helps the internal employees of the companies to focus on deciding which abilities the talents must have. These talents must show that they possess the adequate potential in order to offer customized and more efficient solutions.

The companies who outsource IT experts provide a wide range of web development workers, according to each project, with great time availability and an impeccable career path.

It is essential to take into account that enterprises need agility and willingness towards change and innovation, which means more flexibility and openness at work. Regarding this, having a team that works in a freelance way has important benefits.

The idea is to optimize the delivery time of projects. This makes the marketing processes to happen in shorter times, which provides a greater customer satisfaction and makes possible the increase of the competitiveness on the market.

Moreover, by outsourcing skilled professionals for the software development, companies make sure that those talents put their abilities, knowledge and techniques at the service of the project fulfillment. The aim is to improve the work quality by respecting the required outlines and the fixed delivery times, so that it can work properly.

It is essential to be aware of the past outsourcing experiences of such organizations, as this will be useful when looking for new software developers or when creating and executing new projects.

On the other hand, it is true that by hiring other software development outsourcing companies or IT professionals, the enterprises obtain more credibility. The reason is that when their employees meet the deadlines of each project, there is a chance of improving and surpassing its planning, development and delivery to the specific customers.

In this area, there are great leaders who provide the service of external software development outsourcing. This removes some previous tasks of the companies while they develop their potential of the projects hand in hand with great experts.

 

Beyond the reasons that cause the boom of this service, it is relevant to mention its benefits:

1. The enterprises which have more trajectory always ask for information about the past experiences of the recruited staff, so they can focus on the customer’s area of interest. They work with responsible, committed and enthusiastic developers.

2. They hire a team made up of different talents which must have the required features according to the project.

3. A worldwide database of contacts is used in order to choose the best web developers.

4. They give the chance to work in the long term with the external developers, which makes the internal employees know each other better. At the same time, it permits a deeper knowledge of the details of the project as a whole.

5. Outsourcing enterprises respect the software developers’ values, cultures and ways of working by agreeing on some specified dynamics to fulfill the projects.

6. This kind of companies establish a communication plan, so that they can assure the normal understanding of every aspect of the project. They also pay attention to the dialogue with the experts to keep the fluency at work.

7. A joint working plan is defined. It is also divided into stages and levels of scalability.

8. They take responsibility for data security and confidential data related to the project.

9. Indicators are measured to check if the project is successful or not.

10. They control the quality of the products by avoiding mistakes or failures before marketing and selling them.

The secret of effectiveness lies in a Culture of Open Talent

Nowadays, companies are going through a crucial moment as they are almost forced to innovate some practices and dynamics in accordance with these times but without giving up old work schemes (in which the physical presence in the office was one of its requirements).

 

Therefore, the complex company culture is constantly changing by means of the use of technologies and Internet, which allows more and more new and better ways of exchange, beyond working face to face.

 

The new searches and needs of both enterprises and freelance workers show the current reality of the labor market.

 

Companies are facing the dilemma of continuing with their talent recruitment and selection processes as they have been doing for ages or looking for new ways of recruitment.

 

One thing is certain, they are immersed in the new virtual model, so they are not exempt from using platforms and digital resources at work. The opportunities that can be obtained with this new situation justify the importance of respecting and including the diversity of available options in the known schemes.

 

So the idea is to create an open talent culture by keeping in permanent contact with collaborators and other companies, increasing the talent sources by looking for more flexible and open ones, generating more dynamism inside the enterprises and encouraging the talent flow respecting its time, roles and specific needs.

 

All of this requires a total commitment in the recruitment of new talents.

 

The aim is to prevent a company culture from keeping closed in on itself, blocked and rigid. In this traditional talent system, there is little resources flow and there are not enough movements in order to make the exchange profitable.

 

Most organizations, even the ones that belong to fields that change constantly, keep on being involved in a traditional working model – the permanent employee who has a fixed schedule. That model is no longer able to follow the rhythm of the huge informative and technical change which it has to respond to and the speed at which it has to do it.

 

Promoting an open talent culture does not mean that we must accept everything equally, as this may cause the system to disorder. When we allow more exchange, there is more energy, ideas and tasks flow which are aimed at creating innovative solutions within the organization.

 

In this context, the foundations of the open talent culture are:

  • Transparency and openness. Once the new temporary members are incorporated, there is new constant information and methods to solve problems. The openness to new information and methodologies are the key for the company success.
  • Agility and dynamism. Open talent cultures are abundant in suggestions and experiences from freelance workers who, as a global community, provide a specific approach in order to share new tools and methods.
  • The incorporation of global talent promotes the addition of different cultures and ways of thinking. The fact of having a culture which is focused on inclusion will improve the results significantly.
  • Collaborative environment. It is essential to understand that, in order to achieve the best performance of remote workers, we must collaborate in an open way.
  • Management by objectives. Open talent cultures hire employees who work by projects. The enterprises that apply this methodology have less permanent labor relationships.
  • More predictability. One of the main problems of an organization is to be able to know which actions it may need in the future. In this context, with an open talent culture, the functions of the employees are reduced and remain without internal background that makes them unable to operate. There is no prejudice when leading change.

 

 

What’s the use of keeping a fixed work team in which its members feel blocked, without any chance of growing and even any clear goals? For what purpose do we resist to take advantage of the new work dynamics?

The current work models must be more and more aligned with the hybrid schemes and the dynamism of the context in which they are developed. Having a close talent culture which does not go together with the external events and trends causes the loss of effectiveness in all of its organizational levels.

An enterprise that maintains its open talent culture, with its front doors in constant movement allowing employees to move freely, is likely to have more effectiveness when showing the results.

This is not a new trend but the promoters of the open talent culture allow the mixed and flexible labor force to increase at a pace that has not been possible so far.

How to create successful Remote teams: 5 tips for you

The post pandemic world is adapting to new paradigms such as remote work and non-verticalized teams to achieve a successful work team.

 

As digitalization adopts processes and workers look for new courses, the way in which companies look for and incorporate digital talent in their projects changed radically.

 

 

Despite the fact that it is not simple to recruit an ideal team, there are some trends that big companies are applying to achieve that. For example, according to Forbes, 30% of the companies that make up the Fortune 500 list include independent workers in their labor force. This can be applied to Google, where by 2019, 54% of their collaborators were freelancers, according to Bloomberg.

 

Another trend that has spread throughout the world in the last two years is flexible and remote work. Even though that had already been happening gradually, a study carried out by human resources consultancy Mercer guarantees that executives believed that only 45% of their workforce could adapt to a remote work modality before the pandemic. However, currently more than 90% of employers say that productivity was kept intact and it even improved after the implementation of remote work. Most companies claim that they will continue using this model even when the pandemic comes to an end.

 

 

That is why nowadays, the search for talent and productivity in teams and projects have no limit. These are some of the keys to take into account to create modern teams:

 

  • Remote work enables reaching untapped talent groups

It is important to understand that the best talent is not always present in the same place as the organization. Looking for talent outside the company for critical projects related to digital innovation might be the key towards growth. Onboarding talent outside and inside the company with the help of remote work and digital collaboration platforms is crucial to create efficient teams.

 

  • Hybrid teams are superior

Innovation asks for a diverse group of talent. The most innovative teams combine internal employees that understand the industry with expert global talent that offers advanced technical skills, as opposed to the traditional system integration model that externalizes innovation. Hybrid teams can also help companies develop new internal skills while working hand in hand with independent expert talent.

 

  • Diversity is a superpower

In today’s world, there is no doubt that diversity enriches any team. When a team includes a variety of gender, ethnicity, background and more, then novel ideas, potential solutions and overcoming results will appear. One of the best benefits of being a company with remote teams is having access to a wider range of candidates to choose from. Hiring people from the freelance world implies a bigger chance of diversity, which allows to reach further limits due to availability.

 

  • Elastic staffing tops permanent staff

Many companies follow a permanent staffing model that assigns a role to a full time position during the length of a project. This minimizes mobility and the employees’ satisfaction. However, the elastic staffing model, which allocates resources depending on the workload of each step of the project, increases productivity, cuts down the time a project takes and gives better results.

 

  • Employees want to be treated more as freelancers and viceversa

Employees want flexibility: having more liberties leads to more productivity. This does not mean making abrupt changes to the company but establishing working environments that balance personal and working lives while letting employees choose the areas and projects they want to be part of.

 

Sure enough, hired freelancers want stability and the benefits that companies offer without sacrificing their flexibility. Businesses that learn how to work effectively with freelancers will have the best global talent available. This includes mapping projects and leading them to success with hybrid teams, incorporating advanced technology and providing predictability in order to help them plan effectively. 

 

Innovation in digital spaces led to great advances in communication, finances, project management and more. In the last two years and in the midst of the pandemic, there were multiple success stories of companies that could adapt to remote work and create hybrid, diverse and innovative teams that had a positive impact on the social, cultural and economic results of the organizations.

The Future of Work is here, and it’s here to stay

There are no current limits for searching talent: remote work, the freelance world and diversity are some of the key concepts to create an ideal working team.

 

There are some work dynamics that have changed since the pandemic: processes automation, new technology incorporation and, mainly, the revaluation of professional profiles for making up hybrid teams. What do the new work models look like?

 

Before the pandemic, there was some evidence about how the future of work would be like. For instance, more and more companies offered some benefits related to flexible schedule and remote work. Another trend showed that workers started to choose independent work while big and small companies decided to hire freelancers specialized in areas such as IT, AI engineering or web design, in order to fulfill projects without having to hire new employees.

 

In 2019 the Upwork platform carried out a study which showed that 63% of American companies employed at least one part of their workers remotely and 35% of the American labor force was represented by independent workers. The same happened in Latin America, where the number of remote workers, freelancers or workers of a company, reached 23 million according to estimations of the International Labor Organization.

 

 

The events that took place during 2020 allowed the implementation of some already considered processes to go faster than before. It also forced the application of other unexpected processes, like compulsory remote work, digitalization of tasks that were previously done in-house and the unpredicted mix of personal and working life. But nobody imagined that these changes would be definite after the pandemic.

 

These are some changes that will remain:

• Automatisation and simplification of structures: within the chaos of digital transformation, some tedious tasks which used to be in-house became digital and automatic. There were some tasks that unnecessarily required time of the employees but now that time has been maximized and it is used for working on other projects.

• Remote and collaborative work: the need to be in contact with other members of the team even remotely led to digital platforms of communication. In most cases, these ones enabled a work model which is more conscious about others and teams themselves.

• Confidence-based: the control of the teams during in-house work changed with the remote work, in which confidence is essential as it makes possible that teams work more freely and in a more productive way without a boss having to control.

• Work flexibility: some time before, it was a must for employees to arrive at a certain time to the office and work at their desks for 9 hours non-stop. After the pandemic, it was understood that this model did not mean more productivity and that management by objectives together with certain time flexibility lead to better results.

• Revaluation of talent: companies have understood the importance of having diverse, specialized and efficient talent. Instead of hiring more full-time employees to do the same and fixed tasks, the freelance and remote world started to gain relevance in different projects, which also activates the internal talent in order to improve productivity and so obtain better results.

How to better manage freelance teams

The search for talent has become global and without geographical boundaries, making teams increasingly competitive and creating an ideal team a great challenge for companies. More and more companies are hiring their workforce on a freelance basis, which has many advantages. However, it is also a great challenge. Some of the tools to achieve this are training and effective communication.

 

The boom of remote work goes hand in hand with the gig-economy. The latter refers to a market system in which temporary projects are common and companies tend to hire freelance workers instead of full-time employees. This trend has been growing more than ever for the last two years. The last survey of human resources consultancy ADP shows that more than half of the global labor force says to be more interested in freelance work since the arrival of the pandemic.

 

The gig economy is the economy of small tasks.

 

On the other hand, many studies by the World Economic Forum show that there is a great economic impact. A research has said that the gig economy will have an annual growth of 17,4%, which represents US$455 billion in global activity up to the end of 2023.

 

It is certain that more and more enterprises prefer to include independent and remote workers in their projects but, as it is an innovating and growing trend, the question about which is the best way of managing a freelance team successfully arises.

 

  • Provide training and tools

As it happens with the joining of a fixed employee, the independent workers who are incorporated to a company must know about its culture, values, mission and points of view. That’s why it is essential to send them documents or style guides, which are necessary to start working.

 

The fact of having a digital admission plan will make it faster and will teach the new employee about the organization and how it works as a whole. As it is possible that a freelancer who works 10 hours per week does not need the same quantity of information as an employee who works 40 hours, it is important to hand in only what is necessary in order to maximize efficiency and not to waste time.

 

  • Document and measure progress

Documentation of processes is relevant in order to understand what are the teams working on, so they can be in tune with each other. Therefore, they can ask for changes according to what they can observe. It is also vital to measure progress through collaborative platforms or tools where expectations, deadlines, orders and comments can be communicated. Thus, freelancers are able to understand how to manage their work within those due dates.

Communication is essential in every team. It must be transparent, pleasant and efficient. By virtue of new technologies, it is easier than ever to connect with remote workers through different platforms. But we must know how to use them, both in a technical and a personal way. It is significant to establish a friendly and transparent communication among teams in order to create a responsible and enjoyable work environment.

Building long-lasting relationships with freelancers will be the key for success to work with them in the future. To be able to trust them in various projects is invaluable as it implies hiring good-quality talent with minimized hiring costs and general expenditures. So it is ideal that they feel well-received and part of the team.

 

  • Understanding their way of working

It is a challenge for companies to understand that an independent worker, no matter how many projects they are working on, keeps on having a freelance work modality. It means that they do not work during common hours or they are not even in the same time zone as the company.

 

Freelancers work on their own and are used to manage their own time and work. But it does not mean that they are not able to fulfill a high-quality task or that they will not be available when required. On the contrary, they achieve aims in a different way but being efficient and productive as a fixed employee. It is relevant to know how to adapt to each other’s requirements and take into account deadlines, orders and common goals of the projects.