Embracing Continuous Product Discovery at a Traditional Fairtrade Auditing and Certification Firm

No items found.

The Client: Auditing and Verification Firm for Fairtrade Certification

Our client is a global certification and verification body that provides independent certification and verification services for Fairtrade and social responsibility standards.

Fairtrade International is a global organization that aims to improve the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries by establishing fair trade practices and promoting sustainable farming practices. Our client provides certification services to ensure that producers and suppliers meet Fairtrade International's standards for fair trade, which include fair wages, safe working conditions, and environmental sustainability.

In addition to Fairtrade certification, our client also provides verification services for various social responsibility standards, such as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Their services include auditing, training, and consulting to help businesses and organizations improve their social and environmental performance.

The Mission: Product People trained the Services Development Leadership team on Continuous Discovery principles

Service development within them has always been very traditional, and not agile. The focus has always been on stakeholders’ requests and not on getting data to support prioritizing customer needs and problems. Services take too long to be developed and they don’t adapt and evolve to meet evolving customer and user needs.

The leadership team has identified the need to develop better and more innovative services. With the goal of introducing Product Thinking with a particular focus on Continuous Product Discovery best practices, this firm hired Product People to bring in our accumulated knowledge and experience and adapt these best practices to the context of service development and the organizational structure.

In this process, we worked very closely with stakeholders to ensure that the context and challenges were evaluated by our consultants in a short period of time. After an initial understanding of the needs and goals of the client, we agreed on the scope of the project which was constrained to a short period of time.

We agreed to deliver a Continuous Discovery Playbook accompanied by a training workshop with the goal of explaining the playbook’s content.

Our Main Quest:  Customized Continuous Discovery Playbook

How We Created the Playbook

The first step of the mission was to understand the client’s context and challenges. We reviewed documentation, current processes and interviewed key team members. We uncovered patterns and organizational constraints that allowed us to create a targeted and actionable playbook.

At the same time, we drew on our past experience with similar clients, and best-case practices and collected further insights from colleagues who had been involved in similar contexts where they had to apply product concepts to service development. We analyzed different possible frameworks and prioritized tools that would be more effective and efficient to implement in the client’s environment. We then connected the different tools and frameworks in a way that optimizes the ease of implementation.

Our core approach to the framework involved getting direct customer input and feedback, early and often throughout the process. We’ve introduced Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) as well as assumption testing to reduce the risk of a failed service launch.

It’s often the case in traditional businesses that are stakeholder-heavy to go too early into “solution mode”.  To balance that tendency we’ve introduced Opportunity Solution Trees (OSTs), helping the team have clarity around business goals and customer problems, before considering solutions. This approach ensures that the services developed are connected to clear pain points of the users and ultimately to a business goal, not necessarily financial.

Opportunity Solution Trees (OSTs) is a framework developed by Teresa Torres. Catch her interview on the Product People Podcast. Read Continuous Discovery Habits or attend Teresa’s upcoming online training.

For prioritization, we selected a gamified option where stakeholders can get involved. We introduced the RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort) framework, where we measure Reach based on the number of customers, Impact on the life change on the people on the ground, Confidence as a measure of the confidence in the first 2 variables, and Effort taking into account implementation and maintenance costs. We’re aware it’s a flawed framework but it resonated well with the target audience in reaching a consensus for priorities.

Trainings & Workshops

We identified that delivering the playbook wouldn’t be enough to ensure the team understands and is able to implement the Discovery principles and methodologies presented. We covered the importance of user interviews and some tactics to implement them, ask the right questions and extract the best insights. Having the whole team on the same page on these basic concepts, we moved to specific practical exercises to train them on specific tools.

The sessions ensured that the participants were capturing all the key concepts and the exercises were very tailored to the context of the company, to ensure that it resonated and to make it easier for the team to apply them in a real context in the future. We covered 3 topics in the hands-on exercises:

  1. Jobs to Be Done (JTBD)
  2. Opportunity Solution Trees (OSTs)
  3. Assumption Mapping

Delivered Outcomes: Mission Achievements

💡 Customized Continuous Discovery Playbook
💡 Trained 6 senior leaders on Continuous Discovery and how to get started.
💡 Ran hands-on workshops on Jobs to Be Done (JTBD), Opportunity Solution Trees (OSTs), and Assumption Mapping.

In the Client's Own Words

Space Crew of this Mission

VP/Director/Head of Product
Associate Management Consultant
Product Management Consultant

For Clients: When to Hire Us

You can hire us as an Interim/Freelance Product Manager or Product Owner

It takes, on average, three to nine months to find the right Product Manager to hire as a full-time employee. In the meantime, someone needs to fill in the void: drive cross-functional initiatives, decide what is worth building, and help the development team deliver the best outcomes.
If you're looking for a great Product Manager / Product Owner to join your team ASAP, Product People is a good plug-and-play solution to bridge the gap.