Rapid Product Development is the key to any successful SaaS company, they say. This is also the strategy we follow at Turbotic. We sat down and asked our Head of Product Maria Gabrils some questions on her thougths on the product journey so far...
Many are surprised by how fast Turbotic developed a full-blown SaaS product and got paying customers in just nine months. What would you say were the critical success factors behind that?
Of course, many factors contribute to the fast development of TurboticOS, although it all boils down to understanding our customer needs and the ability to develop a product from those.
So far, I believe there are two main reasons behind our achievements. First, our internal knowledge of market demands, and second our ability to transform requirements into the product and its features. We have a great deal of automation experience internally and understanding of market demands from our founders and product development team. Our founders have experienced the problems we are trying to solve, and the product team has hands-on experience with fixing those problems. The product vision has arisen from insights and industry knowledge which the product team have digested and transformed into features.
What are the key components of a successful Product Development team?
I think the key components that made it possible for us are the combination of individual skills and an effective methodology.
We have built a core team in a hybrid constellation that consists of our own team, consultants, and senior lead developers with excellent skills and knowledge. The diverse and mixed team has resulted in a lot of experience added to the product. The core team can be boosted with a flexible team of developers that works on-demand with specific focus areas.
Many prerequisites need to be in place to enable a development team to perform; methodology and tools, therefore, become essential. Our product development methodology is based on agile planning with clear and structured feature requirements, done in tools that facilitate cooperation between product people and developers. As in any team, the leadership has been key in managing development from our project manager and our CTO leading the development.
Why is rapid product development and deployment so important? Or is it?
As we are developing a product within a new product category to a new market, testing and proving our ideas and concepts is crucial before spending too much effort and cost. We iterate as quickly as possible rather than sticking to a development plan, which minimizes the risk of developing features that the market doesn't desire. After testing the ideas, we put the development efforts to do the final functionalities to stabilize the product before deployment.
How crucial are the customers in this journey? How much do you collaborate with them when developing the product?
Receiving feedback from customers early on has been vital for us, as it has brought us closer to the market needs and has helped to ensure the viability of different concepts. The feedback has confirmed some hypotheses and declined others.
Our beta program is one example of how we gathered feedback and customer requirements before the product's first version was launched. We had customers that tested the feasibility and viability of TurboticOS and assessed how well it solved their pain points and needs. The outcome indicated the market desirability and the drivers of an Automation and AI operating system.
Everyone is talking about “product-market fit.” When do you know you have one?
I consider Product-market fit as an iterative process where a product increases its market shares by incrementally responding to market needs rather than a sudden “AHA” moment. There is a constant balance between trusting our vision and product while still being responsive to current market needs.
In our case, we got good indications early on from our customer collaborations that TurboticOS could solve their problems. The first customers confirmed our vision and gave us implications on market needs that we should respond to. When we had answered those customers needs, we knew that TurboticOS solves many pain points and the reasons enterprises need an Automation & AI operating system. Today, we know that we have a “product-market fit” to some extent and will go into continuous development focusing on adopting the product even further to market and clients needs.