So you’ve decided to work with a digital product agency. Smart move. You want epic results fast, and an agency knows how to make that happen. You’ve done some basic research and feel you’ve found an agency partner that is a good personal fit. So now what? How do you go from remarkable vision to breakthrough product?
Here, we’ll peel back the veil and show you how we do things here at Camber Creative. We think our methodology is the best, but we may be a little biased. Processes and development philosophy will differ among different agencies. But we think this will give you a solid idea of the process regardless of who you decide to work with.
Phase 1: Consultation
No matter how structured your product vision may be when you start to work with a digital product agency, it’s critical to socialize your ideas with your new team to get everyone bought in to the vision and objective with a strong onboarding process.
Don’t worry if you have only a loose idea of the problem you want to solve because the best digital product agencies will be able to help you transform big, bold, and abstract ideas into tangible products that can validate your idea and find product-market fit.
What to Expect
The purpose of the initial consultation is to open up a two-way conversation about your product, and assess whether you and the agency are a good fit for your product development needs. At Camber, this initial conversation typically takes the form of a low-pressure thirty-to-sixty minute call or video chat.
“When we’re consulting about any new product (or even a new feature), we are primarily concerned with justifying the effort to do anything at all. We are starting with a strong “why” to help you avoid building solutions in search of problems.”
Brice Gramm, Founder & CEO @ Camber Creative
During this initial conversation, you should be prepared to discuss the big picture of your project and answer some broad questions. This is also a great time to share a pitch deck, sketches, written requirements, or anything else you may have to explain your vision.
- What is the business purpose?
- Who are the users or target audience?
- What are their unmet needs/wants?
- How might we solve those?
- What is the business value in trying to solve it?
- How does it fit your purpose?
- What is your target timeline and budget?
And let’s be clear — you don’t need to come to the table with all of the answers. The purpose of this initial consultation is to help the product team better understand our starting point, so that we can make a reasonable proposal for what to do next.
Tips for this Phase
- Clearly state the problem you want to solve, and key features you think will solve them.
- Discuss broad strokes instead of intricate details.
- Describe what success would look like to you. What outcomes matter most to you right now and in the future?
- Share high-level industry knowledge you may have, particularly about the target audience and why they need this product.
- If possible, indicate which of your ideas are “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”
- Broadly define the problem you are trying to solve and map out your intended solution.
- Put together any preliminary materials such as a basic pitch deck.
- Reach out to our team to tell us about your new project idea and schedule a free consultation.
Phase 2: Planning
During the planning phase, we add substance, approaches, and estimates to the ideas worth pursuing. We write actionable specifications, analyze each feature qualitatively and quantitatively, apply our Feature Value Framework to find an optimal focus point, and propose the best technical approach and budget based on objectives and constraints.
What to Expect
The purpose of the planning phase is to level set the dream against the budget. At Camber Creative, we believe most development estimates suck. The methodology is often flawed and doesn’t apply agile thinking to estimating. We take a radical new approach which we believe is better for our clients and reduces scope creep, over-billing, and budget shocks. We believe the planning phase is the catalyst for finalizing a realistic budget with honest expectations that allow us to begin to prioritize features for an MVP.
- What set of features should constitute the first (or next) release?
- How much user value is attached to these features?
- What constraints should we operate within?
- What’s the most effective and efficient way to build this?
- How much effort and budget will be required?
Tips for this Phase
- Align on a project plan. Make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of feature prioritization regarding which features should be built out when.
- Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t like something if it is not aligned with your vision for the product or user experience.
- At the onset of the discussion, be transparent about your ideal timeline to completion in terms of when you are hoping to have the product ready to go to market. Additionally, be clear as to what your budget and timeline are like.
- Start thinking about which features are foundational to your solution and which features can be added down the line.
- Map out your budget and how much flexibility you have within your budget to build the optimal solution.
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