When it comes to figuring out an action plan for meeting your adoption and engagement goals, the amount of information you need to sift through can seem overwhelming. It can sometimes feel like you have to educate yourself for every possible use case. It’s admittedly a lot of data to sort through and process. Who has time (or the expertise) for all of that? And even if you do manage to learn more than seems humanly possible, it can still end up feeling like trial and error when it comes to putting it all into practice and creating the perfect strategy to meet your goals.
But what if there was a system that provided you with just enough information, just in time for you to put it to good use? A system that adapted to your changing product needs? And not just enough information … the right information. Well, at its core, that’s what the Knurture System is all about.
Maybe you’ve heard of the concept of “Just in Time (JIT).” As it’s come to be applied in most modern product design methodology, it boils down to the idea of cutting out all unnecessary documentation, effort, and waste to increase efficiency and reduce time and cost. Product design is iterative, so features and functionality are added “just in time,” as needed. Essentially, teams attempt work with just enough information, just in time to use it.
But there’s a problem here. While the goal is laudable, there’s a flaw in the system. How do teams definitively know what’s “just enough?” And if they don’t know that with certainty, how can they define when “just in time” actually is? In other words, while it’s all well and good to employ a healthy “just enough, just in time” approach, its success hinges on understanding the big picture. To work, JIT must identify and focus on the correct end goal, first and foremost, and then be able to differentiate between information that serves that goal and information that’s distracting and extraneous.
While we do infuse our processes with the Just in Time philosophy, rather than follow the commonly accepted interpretation of that approach as it applies to product design, we take inspiration from its origins. While the philosophy can be traced to Henry Ford’s production lines, JIT was formally adapted and implemented as a systematic approach to manufacturing in post-war Japan, at a Toyota plant. There are admittedly many subtleties and components to the Japanese system, but at its most basic, JIT boils down to this: Parts show up just in time for manufacturing, and production happens just in time for purchase. It’s the opposite of “just in case,” where extra (i.e. wasteful) amounts of inventory are held “just in case” it’s needed. The system seeks to eliminate waste and increase efficiency.
But for this system to work, the end goal must be clear. In the case of car manufacturing, that’s relatively straightforward. The goal is a fully-functional automobile, completed just in time for the consumer to buy it. When it comes to product design, however, sussing out that end goal can be more complicated and opaque, and the best, most direct road to that goal can change over time as new information is unearthed.
And that’s where the Knurture System comes in. We start at the end -- by lifting the veil of uncertainty and helping you clearly define your adoption goals. Anything that doesn’t serve that end is waste. Then, we give you a customized, evolving, roadmap to help you get there. As we work together, we continuously adapt your roadmap as we learn more about your customers’ motivations and desires. And this works to ensure you’re always moving towards your goals via the most direct route possible. So when we say we bring a JIT philosophy to the Knurture process, we mean that we give you just enough of the right information for you to meet your adoption goals -- just in time for you to need it and use it effectively.
So how does this work in practice?
At its heart, the Knurture System consists of two interdependent components: Simulations and Playbooks. In Simulations, we gather valuable intel from real customers. These insights into user motivations and behaviors are then used to customize the Playbook strategy, a just-in-time responsive product roadmap that’s a real reflection of your users’ needs.
The beauty of the system is that none of this takes place in a vacuum. The intel gathered in simulations informs the Playbook strategy with just enough information, just in time; in turn, the Playbook strategy adapts based on new intel. The result? An evolving, living product roadmap based on the observed needs and behaviors of real users.
We told you that for a JIT strategy to work, it must begin by nailing the goals. To that end, before we do anything else, we work closely with you to understand your unique needs. We conduct in-depth stakeholder interviews and conduct baseline user research to understand your adoption issues with greater clarity, achieve company-wide alignment of purpose, and uncover the job users would actually hire your product to. We use the information we gather to create your own data-informed KPIs that are tailored to your goals.
Your customized Playbook will then be created in way that facilitates reaching those KPIs. But unlike most roadmaps, this isn’t a one-and-done deal. Your roadmap isn’t a static, unchanging, dead entity. It’s informed -- and it evolves -- based on the intel we gather in simulations.
We conduct simulations that employ lifelike prototypes -- without any code -- that focus on a very specific aspect of your product to test with users. This method allows us to build -- and iterate -- lightning fast, using just enough functionality, just in time. As we observe your users interact with the product prototypes, we employ a SLOW interview technique to uncover their deepest motivations, needs, and desires -- as well as what’s stopping them from making progress towards their goals. Because the prototype looks real, we get real, honest reactions. We then synthesize and interpret the data we gather and adapt your Playbook based on what we’ve learned. And in this way, you get just enough of the right information, just in time.
In this way, your just-in-time roadmap will continually adapt to make sure that you’re following the most direct and effective route towards your adoption goals. Members of your team are less likely to get bogged down with irrelevant or misleading information. Everyone -- product team, engineering, sales -- will be able to look at the Playbook as it evolves and see exactly what you’ve done and what you still need to do to reach your adoption goals. No waste, no extraneous information -- just enough, just in time. In the true spirit of the Japanese JIT philosophy and system, instead of building something for the sake of building it -- and wasting a lot of time, money, and effort in the process -- you'll know, at-a-glance, that you’re building the right thing in the right way … just in time.