Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.
|Concept Overview||– Dual-Track Agile is an agile development approach that recognizes the need for two parallel tracks or pathways to deliver successful software products: Discovery and Delivery. It addresses the challenge of balancing exploration and innovation (Discovery) with the need for efficient and predictable product development (Delivery). Dual-Track Agile ensures that teams continuously learn from user feedback, market insights, and experiments while simultaneously delivering valuable features and enhancements to customers.|
|Key Principles||– Dual-Track Agile is guided by several key principles: 1. Discovery and Delivery Tracks: The dual-track approach acknowledges that discovery and delivery are distinct but interrelated activities. 2. Iterative and Collaborative: Both tracks operate iteratively and involve close collaboration between product managers, designers, developers, and stakeholders. 3. Continuous Learning: Discovery focuses on continuous learning, user feedback, and experimentation to inform product decisions. 4. Value Delivery: Delivery ensures the efficient and predictable release of features that provide value to customers. 5. Adaptability: Dual-Track Agile allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and market dynamics effectively. 6. Empathy for Users: A deep understanding of user needs and problems is central to both tracks.|
|Discovery Track||– The Discovery Track in Dual-Track Agile involves activities related to understanding user needs, ideation, and experimentation: 1. Problem Exploration: Teams explore user problems, market opportunities, and competitive landscape through research and analysis. 2. Idea Generation: Creative brainstorming sessions generate potential solutions and product ideas. 3. Prototyping and Validation: Concepts are prototyped and tested with users to gather feedback and validate assumptions. 4. User Story Mapping: User stories and journey maps help visualize and prioritize features and requirements. 5. Continuous Learning: The Discovery Track emphasizes learning and adaptation based on user insights and feedback.|
|Delivery Track||– The Delivery Track focuses on implementing, testing, and releasing features based on the insights and requirements gathered from the Discovery Track: 1. Feature Development: Development teams work on building and testing features based on validated user stories and requirements. 2. Agile Development Practices: Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban are often used to manage development and ensure incremental delivery. 3. Continuous Integration and Deployment: DevOps practices enable continuous integration and deployment to release updates efficiently. 4. Feedback Loops: Delivery teams provide feedback to the Discovery Track about implementation challenges or technical constraints. 5. Quality Assurance: Rigorous testing and quality assurance processes ensure the reliability and functionality of features.|
|Benefits and Impact||– Dual-Track Agile offers several benefits and impacts: 1. Improved Product-Market Fit: Continuous discovery and user feedback lead to products that better meet user needs and market demands. 2. Reduced Risk: Early validation and learning help mitigate risks associated with building the wrong product. 3. Faster Delivery: The Delivery Track maintains a steady cadence of feature releases, reducing time-to-market. 4. Enhanced Collaboration: Collaboration between discovery and delivery teams fosters alignment and shared understanding. 5. Adaptability: Teams can adapt to changing priorities and emerging insights, making the development process more agile. 6. Higher Quality: Quality is improved through rigorous testing and feedback loops.|
|Challenges and Risks||– Challenges in implementing Dual-Track Agile may include resource allocation between the two tracks, maintaining a balance between exploration and delivery, and ensuring effective communication and collaboration between teams. Risks can involve the potential for the discovery track to become disconnected from development or for delivery to outpace validated learning.|
Understanding Dual Track Agile
Many assume that the most important part of lean and agile methodologies is delivery velocity.
However, product discovery is equally as important in ensuring that only products customers love are built.
Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few.
These somewhat traditional methods of product discovery occur as a phase. Insights are handed over to delivery teams after weeks or sometimes months of product research.
During this time, user feedback can become messy as details are lost or simply incorrect. Indeed, users may not understand what they are asking for or worse still, what they actually need.
Uncovering these insights takes time and effort, which many product managers aren’t willing to commit.
This leads to assumptions being made which ultimately threaten the integrity of the product.
Dual Track Agile aims to validate product ideas as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. In other words, to increase learning velocity to complement the delivery velocity characteristic of the agile approach.
The two-tracks of Dual Track Agile
As noted, Dual Track Agile incorporates two tracks:
The discovery track (team)
Who gather insights, feedback, product ideas, and develop product personas based on stakeholder goals.
Discoveries must be assessed in the context of market opportunities, competitor products, and user expectations.
The delivery track (team)
Encompassing the process many practitioners call agile development. Taking the insights provided by the discovery track, the delivery track builds and releases as many useful features as possible in a given sprint.
To be effective, the discovery and delivery track must work concurrently with high collaboration between each team.
There is no requirement for the discovery team to fully define all product backlog items before the delivery team can begin development.
The Dual Track Agile process is non-linear and involves the key members of each team (managers, designers, and developers) working together throughout.
Ultimately, it is a balanced approach that allows the delivery team to work on one set of features while the discover team simultaneously determines what the next features should be.
Benefits of Dual Track Agile
Higher quality products
During the Dual Track agile approach, only validated product ideas are allowed onto backlogs.
This increases the odds that the user base will resonate with a given product feature if it is built.
Lower development costs
When the discovery and delivery team work in unison, development velocity increases which reduces cost.
In other words, Dual Track Agile avoids the scenario where one team is sitting idle while it waits for the other team to complete a task.
This creates a streamlined and cost-effective development cycle where both teams work to well-informed and detailed plans.
Increasing delivery velocity helps businesses adapt to fluctuating consumer trends or improvements in technology.
The rapid creation of prototypes shows customers that the business is attuned to their needs and has a desire to meet those needs long term.
- Dual Track Agile is a concurrent software development methodology with an aim to validating ideas as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
- Dual Track Agile incorporates two tracks, one is occupied by the delivery team and the other by the discovery team. Both teams work simultaneously in a non-linear fashion. Key members of each team must maintain a high degree of collaboration to avoid project downtime.
- Dual Track Agile increases the odds of higher quality products that address real customer needs. It also lowers development costs and makes the organization more adaptable to changing market conditions.
Key Highlights of Dual Track Agile:
- Definition and Purpose:
- Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology that emphasizes both product discovery and product delivery.
- While many focus on delivery velocity in agile methodologies, Dual Track Agile emphasizes the importance of validating product ideas through efficient and cost-effective discovery methods.
- Importance of Product Discovery:
- Product discovery is crucial to ensure that products built are what customers truly love.
- It involves methods like design thinking, lean startup, and A/B testing to learn about user needs and preferences.
- Two Tracks of Dual Track Agile:
- Discovery Track: Focuses on gathering insights, feedback, and developing product ideas and personas.
- Delivery Track: Encompasses the agile development process, building and releasing features based on insights from the discovery track.
- Concurrent and Collaborative Approach:
- Dual Track Agile requires collaboration between the discovery and delivery teams.
- Both tracks work concurrently with a balanced approach, allowing development to proceed while new ideas are discovered.
- Benefits of Dual Track Agile:
- Higher Quality Products: Validated product ideas are prioritized, leading to features that resonate with users.
- Lower Development Costs: Collaborative work between teams increases development velocity, reducing costs.
- Adaptability: Rapid prototypes and quick feature releases allow businesses to adapt to changing consumer trends and technological improvements.
- Key Takeaways:
- Dual Track Agile validates ideas efficiently by incorporating discovery and delivery tracks.
- Both teams work concurrently with a high degree of collaboration to avoid project downtime.
- It leads to better products, lower costs, and increased adaptability to changing market conditions.
Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks
- Business Models
- Business Strategy
- Business Development
- Distribution Channels
- Marketing Strategy
- Platform Business Models
- Network Effects
Main Case Studies: