Democratic product development

cover picture - 5 dimensions of democratic product development

Owing to the digital transformation of business processes, those such as sales and production management are faster, cheaper, easier and more extensive than in the traditional models. Only those companies that use digital products to deliver the quality and experience consumers expect are likely to survive in the market. For this reason, at Stepwise every project is considered in 5 key dimensions. This democratisation of software development allows us to provide our customers with innovative products, compliant with modern business requirements.

What is democratic product development?

Democratic software development is an innovative method of planning, production and implementation of digital products that meet the refined expectations of modern recipients. Based on the methods created by the IKEA designers, Stepwise has developed its own version of the 5 dimensions for the creation of perfect technological products.

At Stepwise, democratic software development is part of the work culture of the entire software house. IT projects based on this approach result from the values that we have been guided by for years, providing our customers with efficient technological solutions. The 5 dimensions of democratic software development are an indispensable part of the DNA of our software house.  

5 dimensions of democratic product development

Democratic product development is based on 5 dimensions, i.e. the values we have at Stepwise, and the properties a premium quality digital product should possess.

5 dimensions of democratic product development:

Functionality

Digital products should ensure maximum functionality and usefulness for end users. UX Design is of great significance in this respect. From the onset of cooperation, the UX/UI Designers at Stepwise are involved in product development, working simultaneously with the customer and the team of developers. They do their best to make the digital product easy to use for every end user, regardless of their level of technological knowledge. 

Quality

Every single product should be of the best quality possible. A final product needs to work smoothly and be error free. Another essential property is failure-free performance so that users can operate the product wherever and whenever they want to. The whole team of developers has an impact on the quality of the digital product. The skillsets of Stepwise employees are able to guarantee a high quality at every stage in the technological projects. Our software house has developed an efficient software creation process. All our IT specialists actively use the best project practices and are strongly committed to consequently improving the quality of our services.  

Beauty

A digital product must be visually attractive. All customers desire an appearance that catches the eye and makes the use of the software pleasurable. The UX/UI Designers at Stepwise make every effort to deliver positive experiences to the end users along with the highest satisfaction. 

Price

Product pricing is a factor influencing purchasing decisions. In this dimension, democratic software development combines technology with design and business. Business has its own needs and restrictions (e.g. budgets). Technology determines the possibilities of UI design, justifies investment possibilities in business, and indicates when it is worth using open source technology. This is all driven by business, which also determines the possibilities of technological and design teams. Technology, design and business overlap and balance each another. They should be taken into account when estimating the product price, where using our common sense is of key importance in this respect. 

Time-to-market

This dimension makes Stepwise unique. Together with our customer we do our best to launch a product as quickly as possible (e.g. as an MVP – Minimum Viable Product). The solutions we use allow us to get valuable feedback directly from end users. We can check how end users behave, and whether there are any functionalities we could improve. At the same time, customers are already developing a potential network of promotion and sales. It is often the case that an MVP can be monetised. Launching new products quickly is crucial in establishing a competitive advantage – you can develop your product and earn at the same time. 

At Stepwise, democratic product development assumes equal use of each of the dimensions. They are all equally important yet it is essential to maintain a proper balance between them. Our customers have different business needs and therefore every project is approached individually. When dealing with these 5 dimensions of democratic product development, the most important thing is to use common sense and be guided by pragmatism of the technological solutions applied.

Frequently asked questions regarding democratic product development at Stepwise:

1. IS IT POSSIBLE TO CREATE CHEAP PRODUCTS THAT MEET ALL THE DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT DIMENSIONS?

Yes. Of course, and not in every situation. It can happen that a beautiful look is most important for a customer. As a result, more time is needed to be devoted to UX and UI. In this case, one of the Stepwise solutions is to create an MVP. This approach combines all the dimensions. We concentrate on the key aspects of a product to relatively quickly check its potential. When we make sure that the software is likely to succeed in the market, we can invest more money to improve the look of the application with more certainty.     

2. DO ALL PROJECTS FALL WITHIN THE 5 DEMOCRATIC PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT DIMENSIONS?

The answer to this question is connected with the previous paragraph. A lot depends on a given situation. At Stepwise we always do our best to create products of the highest quality possible that meet the requirements of all the democratic product development dimensions. Our experience allows us to create digital products in such a way that every dimension is treated equally seriously. However, the final decision is always taken by our customers and much depends on their individual needs and preferences. As a software house we recommend and advise, but the last word in key decisions is yours.   

3. WHICH DIMENSION IS MOST IMPORTANT AT STEPWISE?

This is the next question without an unequivocal answer. Undoubtedly for many people, quality should be the most significant. I agree that this is one of the key factors, yet it can happen that  in MVP projects, time-to-market or price will be much more necessary (at least at the beginning of a complete project). In our opinion, no dimension is drastically more important than the others. Each case of technological product development should be considered individually, and Stepwise always recommends treating them all with the same attention. The issue that is worth considering is maintaining a proper balance between them.  

4. AN EXAMPLE OF A STEPWISE PRODUCT THAT COVERS ALL THE DIMENSIONS 

There are many examples of software that fall within all the 5 democratic product development dimensions in the Stepwise portfolio. One of them included an extensive MVP. Within 6 months we delivered our customer the software with key functionalities, great interface and practical design. This was also a relatively low-cost project with short time-to-market. The agile methods of operations and proven technologies ensured a high level of quality. The customer received the product ready for launch. When the digital product monetisation expands, the customer will be able to implement a plan to develop the functionalities to efficiently win new markets. We maintained a perfect balance between all the elements.   

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