What is a Tech Product Studio?
Tech Product Studios are companies that focus exclusively on building innovative digital products by bringing in a diverse set of product building capabilities into a single team. There is an increasing interest in the role that these firms play as a catalyst for innovation in leading tech focussed companies.
How is a Tech product Studio different from other similar offerings?
A traditional technology outsourcing company, whether it’s a design or development agency, follows a tightly outlined structure of what has to be done. It’s basically – here’s the job, go and do it.
Typically multiple external partners or siloed internal teams are involved in the different aspects of product building. The business/product management team defines the business problem as per their internal world – view while the design team creates the UI / UX templates to match that brief. A rigid Business Requirement Document (BRD) is created and the software development agency writes the frontend and backend code based on it.
In this process, there is no one to challenge the inherent internal biases by asking hard questions like –
- Is the problem you’re trying to solve actually a problem worth solving?
- Will the technology you’re deciding to go with still be relevant down the road?
- Are there more effective ways to reach product-market fit quicker?
Process without a Tech Product Studio
The Tech Product Studios work quite differently since a client does not come to them with a blueprint on what to build. The requirements, features, and technology are selected collaboratively throughout the product development process.
Tech product studios with their outside-in perspective and a diverse suite of capabilities help with multiple critical areas of the product development process. They do this by bringing the entire set of tech and product skills together within a single team. A typical Tech product studio team would include experienced product managers, software engineers, UI – UX designers, data scientists, and business analysts.
Tech Product Studio Process
Why do innovative companies prefer to work with Tech Product Studios?
There are many reasons why companies choose to partner with tech product studios. Some of them are:
- They lack internal resources or expertise,
- They need to get a product to market faster than their competitors, and/or
- They need a new creative and strategic perspective.
Traditionally, many companies believe in keeping all their product design and development work in-house for reasons that could include privacy, IP protection, or wanting to have greater control over the process. These companies miss out on the flexibility and speed of execution while working with a digital product studio. They also stay limited in their innovation potential due to internal legacy thought processes and inherent biases of the current team.
Developing entire digital products from scratch is a complicated procedure that requires thought-out systems and processes to execute correctly. This requires a different mindset and technical capabilities. You need –
- an outcome focussed approach,
- tightly integrated product teams working as a single unit, and
- experienced product builders, not just code writers
Instead of hiring, nurturing, and allocating internal teams, working with a tech product studio allows you to get access to experienced and vetted talent that has already worked on multiple cycles of tech product development. They also bring in a fresh perspective that is not colored by the client’s existing internal biases. This helps your company de-risk product development and significantly accelerate the go-to-market with minimal product iterations
Tech product studios simplify the product development process and help companies cover multiple gaps instead of trying to build end-to-end internal capabilities or hiring and managing 3-4 different partners. This synergy improves the-
- Final product quality,
- Time to market, and
- Overall client experience.
How do you select the right Tech Product Studio?
A tech product studio acts like a trusted product advisor and not just a blind executor of job instructions. As such, you need to look for a few qualities while selecting the right partner for your product journey.
- Experienced leadership – The first criterion you need to look at is the experience of the product studio’s leadership team. Startup founders and/or senior product managers in technology innovation-driven companies have the right background to steer your own product development journey.
- Relevant in-house skills – Product development needs a combination of skills, primarily techno-product managers, UI – UX designers, front-end and back-end software engineers, and data scientists / AI specialists. They should have worked together on multiple product development cycles together so that they understand each other well and act as a single tightly knit unit.
- Business outcomes focus – The biggest red flag for any product development partnership is the focus on headcounts rather than business outcomes. Look for partners who mutually agree upon the product milestones and timelines with you, instead of talking about headcounts to be deployed. Product development goes through multiple iterations of build – test – fail or scale, and as such, you cannot predict at which stage how many resources of which skill sets will be needed.
You will discover new use cases and better approaches to solve the problem on the go. This is possible when your partnership conversation and agreement are focused on the outcomes, and not on headcounts.
Read here to learn more about the process of building great digital products.