& the future of process
Since June we've been working with our community on building Tadaa, the next-generation tool. We spent the last 3 months collecting feedback, iterating and adding new features. Today we're excited to open the private beta to new users.
Let's rewind a bit and share why Tadaa exists, how the idea came up, and what's the magic solution we're bringing to teams? If you want to dive straight in the product, go check out Tadaa now!
We've spent hours talking with 250+ product designers, PMs, CPOs, freelancers, etc. where we asked three simple questions:
- How is your team structured?
- What's your typical way-of-working (e.g. processes, tools, etc.) when building new products?
- What pain-points do you face along the way?
We heard many different stories and experiences, from very inspiring junior designers to senior product leaders. Each time we were surprised at how easy it was to have an honest discussion.
We unearthed a common pattern between teams. Despite the size, softwares used and processes in place, the same pain points were recurring. We can divide them in three pillars: knowledge, communication & impact.
Distributed working environments are the new norm. Hence the growing demand for collaborative tools. We discovered that teams use on average 10 different tools (e.g. Figma, Miro, etc.). These softwares all work great as vertical tools to design, brainstorm, research etc. but they're not built for deep collaboration. How many times per day do you hear:
"Hey, could you share the link?" Says every employee 10x times a day.
Current tools are built on the same core principle: nested views. Every resource is located in a file sitting in a folder, stored in another folder... x times. This reduces team engagement and slashes overall quality.
Such view fragments the knowledge in multiple silos. Real "Chinese walls" arise between softwares, squads and people. Hence team alignment becomes impossible as decision makers don't hold the same set of information. We've even heard this from teams with only one squad (e.g. 1 PM, 1 Designer an 2 Engineers). Imagine this issue in companies with multiple squads! It drives massive work duplication, another pain point that came back. Finally, nested view hinders all curiosity between squads. This has to change.
How often do you spend looking for resources before giving up and eventually writing your own version?
Research, decisions and resources are being multiplied from one squad to another. Alignment between teams and coherence in built features becomes impossible. It extends lead time, decreases product confusion and this is when team moral starts to drop.
Another pain we've identified during our interviews was the mix of experience in teams. The product mindset is a young practice that is still a work-in-progress. Here's why:
For product teams there are 2 stakeholder types:
- Product people (part of the team): engineers, leads, PMs, designers. They have an understanding of how products should be built (e.g. discovery, delivery, sprint etc.).
- Business peers (external, but as important). These are Customer Success Managers, sharing client feedback and issues raised. They also are Marketing Managers helping on the copy-write and launch campaign of future products. You can find as well the Data team in bigger organisations, analysing client insights. These key players have a low knowledge of how product teams operate, because 1) that is not their job, and 2) they sit on different communication channels.
80% of teams have no processes (as-in written somewhere). This means there's no clear understanding of how new features are built. This makes it difficult to communicate effectively on what's been done, what's in progress and what's left to do. Without clear guidelines, product people struggle to align.
This transparency problem is multiplied with business peers. They have no view on why their input is important, or how it will be used. So naturally their motivation to help product teams weakens. A first sign is when handover sessions become a struggle to organise. This will change.
We learned that 70% of features built have zero or even negative impact. This means that most features team spent weeks working hard to build, are useless.
This isn't surprising as 80% of product teams don't follow any process. Teams often skip research, others don't carry user testing. Teams have tight deadlines and unfortunately don't have time to follow a robust workflow. This is unsustainable as teams begin to monitor post-launch success. We've actually seen an interesting mirror effect between startups and big corporations: decisions are top-down, where most new ideas come from C-levels' intuition.
Teams are a mix of experiences, biases and knowledge. We talked with PMs that admitted they tried to look online for guidelines to get inspiration from other teams, but got quickly drown in the amount of resources available.
Overall this leads to confusing products, with useless features, higher costs and employee discontent. We will change that.
2. How will Tadaa change the game?
The current workarounds we have identified are the following:
- 30% of teams use long lists of bullet points with instructions. This is a first step, but eventually it makes the process really hard to understand and non-actionable.
- 10% of teams have a PDF doc presenting ways-of-working. These onboarding slides are often outdated and non-actionable. In most cases, they are read during the first week and then archived.
- Design and Product teams now need internal teams (DesignOps/ ProductOps) to help them align on the documentation (#whereisthelink), implement processes, and stop the chaos embedded in every team's daily work.
Tadaa will help teams on tangible data points:
- reduce lead time -> make products cheaper to build
- reduce customer churn -> products that address a specific customer need lead to higher retention rate
- increase conversion rate -> as every products answers a real customer pain, revenue increases
- reduce employee churn and improve team satisfaction -> “If we want to make great experiences in our products, we have to feel great about the experience of making.” Miles Orkin
3. So ... what is Tadaa?
We want to help creative teams focus on building great products. For that we remove all the noise. Our magic recipe is made of:
- 50% deep collaboration: all stakeholders on the same flow
- 50% visual impact: a workflow that's easy to read, understand and play with
Tadaa is the next-gen DesignOps tool to help product teams create interactive, collaborative and actionable processes. Now teams can all participate on the same workspace to build more impactful products.
What changes with Tadaa?
- onboard all the stakeholders required to participate in the high-quality discovery and delivery sprints
- easy to maintain a single source-of-truth
- respect an actionable process that you can improve product after product
- ship the best products
- feel happy about building cool features :)
Basically, DesignOps meets real time collaboration. In a single platform you can integrate your knowledge, embed your favorite tools if you need to deep dive, collaborate and share your work.
So that's what we're up to with our community of 400 Tadaa-ers (?). The first version of the product is available so join the slack to try the product and share your recommendations! We strongly believe that to go far we will need all product teams to build the product with us.
For teams to deliver great products they need to have fun in the process and that's what Tadaa is here for!
If you have any suggestions or want to learn more, don't hesitate to DM us on slack (link below)!