About the project
Our client, Kamax, is a world producer of high-strength fasteners and complex cold-formed parts for the mobility industry.
We work on the Smart Shop Floor and Operator Cockpit Project, a part of the software used during the operation process. We work on digitizing product plant to make the production process faster, more transparent, efficient, and lucrative. The project started around two and a half years ago, and I’ve been working on it since day one.
The team currently consists of three people from ProductDock: two front-end developers and me, a product owner. The rest of the team is from the client side, consisting of a back-end developer and a UX/UI designer.
Skills, methodologies and tools used by a PO
My work focuses on product management skills and tools and methodologies that I use during the product development cycle, especially during product discovery, my favorite phase. Discovery is when we are starting a new product or feature and trying to come up with a way to produce the product that will be as useful to the client as possible.
Product development cycle
The discovery phase
The discovery phase is the research phase, where we find out what’s going to help the end user. Usually, the client is not the end user but has its own vision and expectations for the project. Different research strategies are used. Our discovery phase is easier because we can communicate with the end user because they are our client’s employees.
The wireframing phase
After the discovery phase, we go into the wireframing phase, where the PO and UX designer work tightly together. The designer summarizes the information we got from the discovery phase into flows, becomes the leader of this phase, and makes decisions about the product’s design. After the high-level designs are done, we have a consultation session with the client and end users to test everything and check if they agree.
The development phase
The following phase is development, where the front-end and back-end developers do their magic, and the designer works on the main design. The tests which we use to ensure one of the quality components are also written during this phase. It is important to note that the developers are consulted throughout all phases to ensure the plan is realistic.
The delivery phase
The next step in this cycle is delivery, which means that the product, or part of the product we keep monitoring, is delivered to the client. This is the workflow for fractions of the product, meaning our project is currently in all these phases.
Feedback is the final step of this process, and even though feedback is continuously collected, it is essential to do it thoroughly.
What do you like the most about the project?
I like the team and how we approach complex tasks the most. An example:
The client asked us to create a noisy alarm that catches the workers’ attention. We got a list of policies and restrictions, which made this difficult. We came together as a team and realized the requirement was impossible due to the policies. We talked to the client, offered a few solutions, and explained the possibilities and changes needed, after which the client changed the policies, enabling us to complete this requirement. I like how we came together as a team and did thorough research, which allowed us to communicate to the client what it is possible to do within the policies’ limits.
We also consulted other people from ProductDock to get all the information, so it was a real team effort in which we used company knowledge to overcome the obstacle. This situation was also the proud moment of this project since everyone came together and contributed, resulting in a quick turnaround. We made the impossible – possible at that moment.
What are some specifics related to only this project?
This project differs from typical product development because the team is not entirely from our company, but we work great together. Another great thing about this project is that we had a chance to do a thorough discovery phase and fully dedicate ourselves to it to gather as much information as possible for the later stages of the project.
The client was also actively involved in the discovery phase, which was a great source of information, but also it shaped the final product somewhat differently than it might have been had it not been for the client’s involvement. Another exciting thing is that the client is present at every daily meeting and has become a part of the team. The client is approachable and understanding, making the process much easier.