A Conversation with Seera Group VP of Digital Product on Continuous Product Design
We caught up recently with Ronnie Varghese, VP of Digital Product at Seera Group, a 40-year-old travel and tourism company and the largest in the Middle East.
Ronnie has spent nearly two decades leading digital transformation and technology projects. He’s been a big proponent of Quantum Metric and Continuous Product Design, an approach (we coined) that aligns teams across the company to build better digital products faster with customers at the center.
The following Q&A is excerpted from several conversations we had. You can also watch a 4-minute video interview with Ronnie embedded below!
QM: What’s your core mission as Seera’s head of digital product?
Ronnie: So much of our work as product leaders is to inspire people to pursue uncharted paths in uncertain directions. If I told you the story of how we transformed our organisation from the inside out, you’d see that, at its core, product design is actually about people, growth and development—people believing in their potential and creating an environment that enables potential to flourish.
I often joke with my team that, as a head of product, I care very little about my product. Because all my focus is on developing my teammates into great critical thinkers, product people, and mostly just good, empathetic human beings.
If we get that right, then moving the needle and building an impactful product is a natural byproduct. Christian Idiodi, a mentor of mine, always says every problem is actually a people problem. So if you solve the people problem, you will solve the product or business problem, too.
QM: What is the problem with the most common way that product is developed?
Ronnie: The current way of mercenary product development–collecting requirements from HIPPOs (the highest paid people in the room), waterfall development, and prescriptive design–wastes a lot of time in delivery and doesn’t lead to value creation. Many companies and teams spend weeks, or even months, developing something based on educated guesses and intuition, then launch the product before they know whether it will create value or not. Teams can build and deliver features on time that are “working perfectly,” but still not deliver any value.
QM: How do you define Continuous Product Design and how does it help improve the product development process?
Ronnie: Continuous Product Design is a process that aligns product, engineering, and UX together right from the beginning so they are constantly aligned in validating value risk, usability risk, feasibility risk, and viability risk. Validating these risks faster, in an automated and scalable way, increases the probability of success and reduces risk. Continuous Product Design helps teams focus, as well as ensure that instead of just shipping features, we are solving the “right problems” in the “right way” in order to continuously deliver value.
QM: How does Quantum Metric fit into your Continuous Product Design process?
I can tell Quantum Metric is a product that’s built for product people, by product people. What the platform enables is marrying both qualitative and quantitative Continuous Product Design.
Quantum Metric helps surface and prioritize impactful problems for us; the platform allows us to pinpoint where the problems are with clear metrics (such as conversion rate) attached. Once we go look at those problems, it also then shows us the context behind why it’s happening. You can see the actual user behavior, which tells you: “Oh, here’s why that problem is occurring.” This helps us identify which very specific actions we must take to solve the problem. The platform gets us from trouble identification or opportunity identification to creating value exponentially quicker than our previous methods did.
Watch this short video interview with Ronnie. He shares a specific example of how his team discovered an opportunity to improve Seera Group’s fare calendar experience, and additional perspectives on Continuous Product Design.