The beginning of any product development process can bring a number of challenges. With Banking as a Service, for example, it would be important to find a way to develop a solution in an agile way without losing the race to market.
In building and launching fintech solutions, what I have found is that technology tends not to be the problem. It is how an organisation is structured around that technology that typically holds companies back from launching new products.
Fintechs have implemented agile based on nurturing an environment that encourages fast failure, experimentation, and value for customers. Less scrum and stand-ups and more people.
A culture of experimentation is crucial for fintechs. An organisation may not have the best tech in the world, but are its people willing to experiment? If you have a culture that penalizes failure, then people won’t experiment. Therefore, getting the right incentive schemes in place, the right structure, the right decision-making process, and communication channels are all fundamental to making things happen.
Companies that allow themselves to fail, will be able to experiment faster and end up beating companies that won’t. Agile methodologies are designed for environments that encourage experimentation. Environments, such that autonomy and responsibility, are devolved to smaller teams, to roll out new releases quickly.
If everything takes 12 months to roll out, one has to be really careful, and have a degree of certainty, about what one decides to do in the first place. I have seen many projects start and companies spend hundreds of millions on something that, when completed, no customer cares about because customer attitudes have changed, the market has changed, and the market is different from the one where you started.
I like working in organised chaos and one where rules are not prescribed – and agile’s beauty and beast come from the fact there isn’t an instruction manual.
For fintechs, soft launches are critical, and here are three of the benefits:
It’s much more affordable
Focusing mainly on your core capabilities and on smaller regions, you may be able to save costs on development resources as well as sales and marketing. Having a version of your product available to your customers means you can begin to see a return on investment which you can use to fund further development.
It allows the opportunity for feedback
Your customers having a high-quality experience using your product is paramount and so having their feedback will help direct you on how you can continue to improve that. A soft launch also allows for your development team to trial out the onboarding process (as an example) from scoping out the work that needs to be done to going live. Multiple trial runs will enable them to realise if there are any steps that are unnecessary or take too long, and focus on making the process as efficient as possible.
It allows for a test run of the market.
This way you can see what the demand is in the market for your core capabilities and compare it to the findings from your prior market research. A benefit here is that you can discover if there is a demand for something you weren’t planning on offering or perhaps you didn’t think was a priority, you can now alter your development plan for the full-scale product, rather than having to stop selling the product altogether while you take a few steps back which would have been the case if you had a hard launch instead.
I have implemented a lot of the above during my career launching several fintech solutions. This is how I saw first-hand that providing an environment of experimentation is one where we have the right mindset and talent, a culture of learning, and achieving the balance of autonomy and alignment. This allows us the opportunity for a successful soft launch so we do not lose the race in a market that is already saturated and competitive.
About the Author:Jovi Overo is Managing Director BaaS at Unlimint. Unlimint is an all-in-one future-focused fintech solution that provides fast-growing, innovative businesses with advanced payment capabilities through an evolving financial interface. The company embraces a wide range of financial platforms to allow startups and entrepreneurs to expand globally and provide them with a seamless digital finance management experience. Headquartered in London, Unlimint has over 400 employees across 16 offices and five continents, including Frankfurt, Singapore, São Paulo, Hong Kong, and Mexico. For further information, please visit: https://www.unlimint.com/