Beyond Product-Market fit

What does it mean to create value for our customers? 

There’s no need for soul-searching at Blacklane — product/market fit has been achieved. We’ve identified both our services and our major customer groups.

Now, building on that foundation, we — seven product managers and four UX/UI designers — are tasked with delivering more value to our customers and driver partners, thus scaling Blacklane. Maintaining a 24/7 global business requires many tools  to provide our services:

  •        4 mobile apps: a driver and passenger app on iOS and Android.
  •        A comprehensive web application for companies that book and manage rides across all departments for their employees. This includes information for passengers, bookers and administrators.
  •        An application for drivers to register, administer and accept rides, as well as submit their documentation and licensing information.
  •        Our auction system that drives the marketplace. (Blacklane is not operating with its own fleet of cars, but is matching customer demand with locally operating service providers.)
  •        A huge backend application — as you might have guessed.
  •        Several internal applications tailored to the needs of business development, customer care, business intelligence, marketing and more.

Blacklane Is Agile & Lean

We try to push product and engineering decisions to the last, economically feasible point in time. This way we can focus on giving value to customers — and the company — with every development sprint. Note: We use Scrum as our development methodology at Blacklane. By working this way, we mitigate the risk of building something no customer is interested in. That’s not only would be a waste, but also a very expensive way of moving forward, given the opportunity costs of such kind of failure. Just imagine what great features could have been built instead.

Although we no longer work with lean canvases, such as the one from Ash Maurya, it is a constant process of development and improvement of the product. The most important challenge is to avoid the fallacy of “we know what to build”. Therefore, one of our most important learnings is, that inside the building there are a lot of opinions. But you actually have to spend a lot of time with customers to figure out what would make their lives easier, well summed up in Steve Blank’s epic piece with the title “Get Out of My Building”.

Next week: Read the continuation on how testing hypotheses works. 

About the author:

Stefan joined Blacklane in January 2015 as an Agile coach. He is originally from Hamburg and moved to Berlin in 2007. He writes on lean and agile principles also on his blog Age of Product. Connect with him on Twitter.