Looking Before You Leap: What exactly is Research & Strategy with Metova?

Digital transformation requires a knowledge of your industry, clarity around your company goals, knowing what your customers really want and understanding what digital assets, if any, you have to work with. You have to start the journey of building a new product experience with a solid plan – and you need to know your intended destination and goals before you make the leap.

The Research & Strategy phase with Metova is a critical phase of your project. The risks of skipping this phase include wasted design and development work, increased costs and elongated timelines, or even worse, an end-product that may need to be rebuilt before you get the opportunity to delight your customers.

Planning certainly sounds like the right idea, and you may have already started, but what exactly does that entail? And what deliverables do Metova customers receive through Research & Strategy? Here’s a brief overview of the methodology, deliverables, and goals of key stages:


Workshops with Stakeholders

Consisting of three immersive sessions with a goal of extrapolating tier 1, 2, and 3 customer personas, defining the unique value proposition and overall brand value, these workshops enable stakeholders to step back from day-to-day tasks to reflect on core values, understand and articulate value proposition in the market and discuss aspirations for the business. These sessions enable our teams to process information with context and to review and revise previous decisions, providing meaningful guidance.


Brand Print & Product Vision

This is where we focus on capturing the core attributes of your brand, harden the guiding principles around who/what you are, define what is expected of you by customers and employees, and fully understand how you express yourself in the work you do. This is important as it serves as a guiding light and global filter to identify, evaluate and take action on business decisions and align people around a common vision, enabling a company to take deliberate and confident decisions.


Customer Personas

We identify the preferences, attitudes, motivations and goals for target customers and define shared and unique traits among different buying groups and then categorize your customers into “Customer Personas.” This is important as it enables you to confidently find relevant questions and answers that resonate with your customers to develop products and services that they truly want (vs. what the organization may “think” they want) to define a delightful user experience (UX). 


User Stories (UX)

This is where we capture the unique stories for each prioritized customer persona. We identify their goals and write them out in the form of tasks that each persona experiences in solving their problems through your products and services. User Stories can be high-level or very specific. During the Research & Strategy phase of your project, they are typically high-level stories that inform the features and the journey for the product that will be designed and developed.


Product Roadmap

A Product Roadmap is a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision, intent and direction of your product offering over time. A Product Roadmap communicates the “why” and “what” behind what you’re building. It’s a guiding strategic document as well as a plan for executing the strategy. The biggest benefit of a Product Roadmap is the strategic vision it illustrates to all stakeholders. The roadmap matches the broader product and company goals with development efforts, which align teams around common goals to create great products. A Product Roadmap is the key to communicating how short-term efforts match long-term business goals. 

Product Roadmaps are typically dependent on both Customer Personas and User Stories being created first. Depending on the level of product definition needing to be captured, the Product Roadmap can take 1-2 weeks to create, working in concert with the Strategy, Technology & Design Teams. One of the most important aspects of your product roadmap is to prioritize User Stories to meet your customer and your business needs over time, ensuring that you are building the right things at the right time for the right people.


User Flows (UX)

In this stage, Metova’s team documents all potential paths taken by each Customer Personas – from entry point through completion of desired outcome allowing us to ensure we achieve the desired outcomes a user may need to use the solution for, such as purchasing, loan applications, customer service, maintenance, feedback, and much more. This stage ensures you create easy-to-use products for your customers, improve the ability to troubleshoot issues or problems with the user experience and overall optimizes the user experience. User Flows are a visual representation of User Stories and Customer Personas and will lay the foundation for designing Wireframes for your eventual solution.


Wireframes (UX)

Our designers and strategists will lay out content and functionality on a page, taking into consideration User Flows, to support the upcoming design and development efforts. This stage enables us to define what interface elements will exist on key pages and optimize the interaction design process while providing a full visual understanding of an app or page early in the project for stakeholder buy-in. This also allows you to establish terminology and structures that meet user expectations and a consistent experience before starting the process of the User Interface design


User Interface Design (UI) 

Our team of expert designers take the work done so far and create high-definition designs showing the final look and feel of key screens throughout the experience. The goal is to create designs that are easy to use and pleasurable, matching your company brand and delighting your customers. By taking the time to identify your customers and their needs, mapping out their journeys through user flows and creating the supporting wireframes, completing the Interface Design becomes a much smoother process, leaving you more time to test and polish the final designs before development begins.

Sound like a lot of work? It is, but we’re experts in this critical process and are eager to lead you to a successful start to your project. It’s important to have the right foundation before you start building, and any designer will need the right definitions to build the right product for your customers.

All of this is essential to make sure your internal team is aligned and working towards a common goal – and should you add or remove people to your organization you have a blueprint to quickly share efforts, simplifying and speeding up the onboarding process.

Want to learn more or have questions? Our lead strategists would love to talk with you. Click Here.