Building an app for 4 million customers
By Antonio Tella, Director of ProductNov 22nd 2021
We’re over the moon that we’ve now helped over four million people in the UK with their finances! That’s through putting the power of people's data back in their own hands, and arming them with the right information to help them make the best decisions for their financial lives.
Over the following week, members of the product team will be sharing some of their favourite features to celebrate the occasion.
I’m starting off with an overview of how we built a product that has helped over four million customers move their finances forward.
From squads to missions
TotallyMoney has changed a lot since I joined in 2016. Back then, we didn’t have any of our core product features, such as the free credit report.
As what we offer to customers has changed, our product team has undergone lots of changes too. Most recently, we moved from a feature-based setup to mission-based, with each mission working towards solving a different problem, each of which aligns to our customer journey.
For us, this is a different way of thinking about product development. Previously, our squads were aligned to specific product features, and ultimately the tech stack. With the new setup, we can make sure that we're really putting all our energy into directly solving the challenges our customers face. Resutling in an even more customer-centric approach to product development.
When we first started working in this way, the first question each mission was faced with was "what customer problems do we want to solve?” We made sure that we spent time truly figuring out what they were. We spoke to our customers, conducted research and looked at data. From there, we developed a good sense of what the challenges were and therefore what each mission should focus on.
The next question that comes up is how do we solve those challenges. At this point, we pull together a squad to start solving these problems. Each squad is made up of many people from all over the business – from tech, to marketing, to commercial, and of course product and design.
How the squad sets about solving these problems can take many different forms, but it always involves the different cross functional people within the squad collaborating together. That can be from quickly getting a test live to measure the impact of a change, right through to adding a new product feature.
Lean, agile, autonomous
Each mission works to a lean, agile philosophy, enabling them to move quickly and independently, solving problems fast and efficiently. The OKR setup ties into this, with the missions setting quarterly goals and reviewing progress every month to ensure they’re on the right track.
Every squad is also autonomous. Each decides how they’re going to address their set task and challenge, and how best they’ll overcome it. Everyone in the mission is dedicated full time to solving the challenge at hand, using expertise from their functional area in solving similar problems.
So, when it comes to the challenge they’re facing, they’re the experts, so it makes sense to let them choose how to face it.
These principles, and the mission structure, are now core ways we work and build the TotallyMoney app. We’re proud to have an efficient, incredibly productive product team, which is laser-focused on serving our customers and helping them to achieve their financial goals, and we're excited to be launching even more, great features in the new year.