Why “Front to back?”

The “back” of the business is where we sit when we’re creating products and services. We have to deal with org structure, software architecture, quarterly targets, fuzzy strategy and misalignment, software delivery management, and the Ikea effect.

But customers approach our businesses from the “front”. They’re looking for a compelling value proposition, great pricing, and an engaging, convenient or delightful experience. They are not interested in how the product is made, or whether making it is difficult.

What happens at the back of the business defines what customers experience up there at the front. The product suite reflects the arcane organisational structure of the company. Customer service staff don’t solve our problem because they are trying to shorten call durations. The product has 26 advanced functions, none of which does what we really need. The result: a bad customer experience and a struggling, uncompetitive business.

This blog is about making digital products the right way around: From front to back. That means working with your customers to understand what they want and need, envisioning products that deliver against those needs, and solving the practical challenges of delivering fast, sustainably and well.

Usually delivering what customers really need hurts a lot. It’s never plain sailing. Customers pay us to do hard things, fast and well.

Victory to those who get the recipe right. As digital product people we’re always on a journey to discover and rediscover effective ways to do make better digital products, more effectively. I’m one of those people. When I find out something important, I write it down here. I hope it helps.