To establish what tech product is we need to both contrast it to something else and interpret the name.
What is a project?
- Defined within the ‘Iron Triangle’
- Fixed scope
- Fixed budget
- Fixed timeline
Example: a project to upgrade everyone’s PC to a Mac. Driven by targets, it’s finite, and once it’s done it’s done. It should be largely predictable and achieve success relatively simply.
What is a product?
- Driven by evolution
- Flexible scope
- Flexible budget
- Flexible timeline
Example: an app. Constantly changing to meet the needs of the market. With continuous discovery & delivery at its core, it is never finished, but constantly evolves until it is ready to be retired or replaced.
A product is something that is a result of combining different components in a certain fashion to build an object that forms a function. A simple chair is a product. There are legs, struts, a seat, a seat back and so on. Those parts can be manufactured separately and then assembled. There are always improvements to be made and perhaps after a batch of a thousand are made an incremental improvement can be added and then the next batch produced and so on.
What is tech product?
Tech products, by which we mean technology powered products, are generally built once in a rapidly evolving and continuously improving way.
As mentioned above, the simplest example seems to be an app for a phone. Let’s imagine a weather app. Most weather apps have been upgraded, updated and improved hundreds, if not thousands of times. Iteration after iteration will silently refresh in the background, probably without you even noticing. The content will be different every time you refresh, but the basic container for it, the tech product is also evolving too, putting the needs of you, the user, at the very heart of its reason to exist. In addition, there may be functionality, interactivity and design improvements. The company providing it may be improving the ability to promote it, attract or retain new customers, improve the monetisation model around it or even add additional advanced features for premium users.
Core to the success of this tech product are simple principles of seeking and acting on user feedback, using data to make informed decisions, working towards value-driven outcomes and putting the most intuitive and engaging user experience at the heart of the offering itself.