January 2022

Product Principle #1 - Products not slides

6 principles for making better products

We created Loomery to make it easier and faster to ship great digital products. We’re a young company but we have pretty strong opinions on how great products are built quickly. So, we’ve attempted to capture our approach in six principles that our team follows and promotes, six beliefs we think are important that guide our behaviours and decisions. 

You could even describe them as anti-principles; as they describe what we don’t want to do as often as they describe what we do want to do. The principles are:
1. Products not slides
2. Do then document
3. No data, no debate
4. Business cases lie
5. Learn on the cheap
6. Start by shipping

In this series of posts we dive into the six principles in turn to explain what they mean and how we apply them day to day. Let’s kick off with our first principle, 'products not slides'.

Principle #1 - Products not slides

At Loomery, we believe that the best way to make progress at pace is to make things, too often consultants fall back on delivering documents rather than progress on a product. 

We’ve all been involved in those projects where most of the week was spent on glossy slideware that would gather dust in drawers. 

Powerpoints might impress your boss but they rarely lead to any meaningful change for customers. Actual products, however small, prompt a response and move things forward.

It’s also easy to give yourself a false sense of security by over-planning and over-documenting before getting something out in the world. The less documentation you can get away with making the better. Really, the prototype is the documentation. Remember, it’s a lot easier to show a thing that brings to life an experience than it is to describe that experience. 

Hear what our team and friends have to say about how we apply this principle:

‘We try to show clients our thoughts and recommendations in the tool we’re building the thing in. You can do design reviews in low code tools like Webflow - it works. With a FinTech startup client, that’s how we’d run the reviews. You want to make minor changes, make them during the review and push to production there and then. That brings clients into the making process, it eliminates the need for slides, and it means you’re discussing the product itself.' 

- Tim Checkley, Founder

‘Let's take the example of a product vision. We all know a product vision is a powerful motivator and a great way to build a shared perspective on what future success looks like. However, a vision is more important than a series of morale-boosting slides, it resonates with our audience in a meaningful way because they identify with its goal and purpose, regarding it as an improved perspective on the future. This type of compelling vision can only be achieved when your team is aligned and committed to realising it.

To achieve this, we need to demonstrate devotion to the cause, not only by the way we act and work, but also by how we communicate the vision. A vision truly comes to life when you make it real. By making things, we enable ourselves to show rather than tell, presenting the vision as tangible in the minds of our audience in a meaningful way. Without something material, an idea is just an idea in our heads, and our audience will not magically come together to make it real with us.'

- Joni Mortimore, Lead Designer

‘If something has never been done before, you don't have a benchmark and you don't know what could be useful or not useful. In this situation, the best course of action is to just make a start. So even if you don't know how you're going to get somewhere, as long as you have a clear idea of where you're going and you know what success looks like, you can start running experiments, learning, iterating and trying new things until something sticks. You will be surprised how quickly that brings you closer to the end goal.’

- Julia Godinho, Product Manager at Moonpig

Does 'products not slides' ring true for you too? Or perhaps you disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts so get in touch. We’ll be posting our second principle 'do then document' later this week, look out for that. 

Loomery is a faster path to product progress. We deliver trusted teams, when you need them. Our community of expert makers, remote teaming approach and flexible partnership model mean we can demonstrate progress on your priorities next week, not next year.

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