This is a story of how a group of 10 bankers became chocolatiers and brewers and how we turned that into customer value.
It all starts with a change to the way we work. We were moving to a product ownership model in which each team would choose a mission based on a product area. We would own that area and choose what to work on in order to fulfil that mission instead of having a focus on delivering features.
Our team was focused on online business banking so after some Friday drinks, we came up with our mission:
‘Give the best first experience to enable customers to do their business banking online’
We were pretty happy with it, but now what? How do we actually own a product and decide what to work on?
We had heard anecdotally from our staff that the process was slow, confusing and with lots of paperwork but this was all second-hand information. We knew that this was only part of the puzzle. So we decided to do an experiment with the whole delivery team involved.
We had some outcomes that we wanted to achieve:
- To get buy in from the whole team
- Feel the pain
- Understand the process
- Uncover opportunities
- Share learnings
So with all these outcomes in mind we came up with an experiment – make up some fake businesses, join the bank and test our process for real.
We split our development team into two to make it a closer fit to the majority of our customers and since we wanted it to be fun we chose things that make us happy – alcohol and chocolate. One team would be a cider brewery and would start in a BNZ store and the other would be a boutique chocolatier and start online.
For the next 2 weeks we were right in the thick of it; visiting the bank, filling in paperwork, submitting online registrations and recording it all. We were also visiting businesses and hearing about their experiences. Doing discovery work as a whole team was quite new to us and the energy around the time was high.
We were collecting all this good information but we didn’t want it to just die on a network drive somewhere so we decided to make it visual using a customer journey map. They are a great way to get a visual snapshot of the whole customer journey; they include tasks and how the user felt about it, and the positives and negatives of their journey from start to finish.
After 2 weeks, our experiment came to an end. We had online access for our fake businesses and also a whole bunch of ideas of where to start based on our staff feedback, customer interviews and our own experiences. We didn’t want to lose the energy that the team had from the experiment so we changed the way that we prioritise work. Instead of a product owner grooming the backlog, we would all have an equal say and prioritise together.
So how did this experiment change things?
- The whole team now understands where the real problems are instead of assuming what the problem is.
- Customer empathy, because it doesn’t feel real until you’ve gone through it yourself!
- We really feel like we own this product and care about the results.
So you’re probably wondering- how did the chocolate & cider businesses end up? Well we went bust… but our online business registration is looking better than ever.