Maximizing impact from ‘minimum viable’ roll-out—how soon is ‘too soon’?

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Product development in agile environments often means rolling out products before they’re ready. It is a tightrope to walk in terms of timing and product readiness to ensure a successful MVP rollout and long term adoption of a successful product.

This year, we ran our first prototype of an internal tool built on our digital platform. But when we launched the MVP version of of Onboarding Express, it was far from completely perfect (as any MVP normally is). Here are a few of reasons why we are working with a ‘roll-out-now’ mentality.

Value > Perfection

If there is an iota of immediate value created by the MVP version of the product, there is an opportunity cost to holding it back to a later stage—why wait when you could be creating value, solving a problem, or selling a product now?

When our product team spent ‘a-day-in-the-life’ with ATB team members in branches. We saw the urgent need to change the account opening process. Between the burden on staff of holding up a conversation while navigating multiple interfaces and the missed opportunity to add value with a brand new ATB customer, this was an urgent problem that needed to be solved.

With our new digital platform, it was the perfect time to prototype. Luckily, our in-branch partners saw the potential and were eager to test an MVP even through the initial bumps. For Onboarding express, the early roll-out validated that we were moving in the right direction and allowed us to collect feedback and make functionality fixes that meant better interactions and more smiles on the faces of both ATB staff and our customers.

If it can start making team members and customers lives better today, we should put it in the hands of team members now.

Phase-two never comes

Have you ever worked on a service or product roll out that had an elaborate plan for ‘phase-two,’ but that second phase never came? That is one of the risks of rolling out a product that is nearly ready. If functionality is far enough along and value is being delivered, it is too easy to pat ourselves on the back and move on to the next big challenge.

Rolling out while things are still clunky or broken means you have to keep working on it. Baby steps take much less momentum than jumping across a gaping crevasse, so it’s easier to keep a project moving continually forward, with less risk that we might fall in or get distracted before taking off.

The early roll out not only pushed us to quickly improve functionality, but it also enabled us to incorporate important learnings that we might otherwise have missed. Things like loosening the character limits on the user names and increasing the time window to activate a debit card.

We’re still working on improving Onboarding Express, but somehow the crevasse is behind us and we’re still moving forward.

It builds a culture of adoption

Across the ATB Transformation team and the entire organization, we’re building a culture of adoption. That means team members are eager and willing to take up new tools and technology. They’re willing to join in the building process because they share the belief that we’re making positive changes that will create value for ATB customers.

Just like any muscle, we need to be constantly exercising our adoption abilities, building our strength. One of the critical factors of success when launching an early MVP is setting expectations. If users are expecting it to be perfect, they will be disappointed.

Part of our adoption process at ATB is inviting early users along on the journey, leveraging our internal communities, and creating excitement and open discussion around launch. Instead of rolling out a new tool to staff members who feel burdened, they are part the team building it and their feedback is heard and incorporated.

Our Spark team and internal communication team members were the catalysts, the engines, you might say, behind the success of Onboarding Express, keeping the lines of communication open and building momentum for roll-out.

Our mission is huge: to elevate the human experience and create happiness through banking. We know that if we aim for perfection, we may never get there. What we are doing is aiming to be great, and striving to get better, every day.

Watch out world, the Onboarding Express is steaming ahead, and this is only the beginning, we have plenty of other exciting projects to follow. To stay up-to-date on future projects like this, subscribe below.