How a 20-year old company adopted a start-up product development method

Innovation

How a 20-year old company adopted a start-up product development method

Disrupt. Create. Sprint. Hustle. These aren’t words typically used to describe the product development process at a 20-year-old corporation. However, they are commonly heard at Asurion, where development strategy has shifted dramatically from the traditional slog to a more nimble, consumer-focused journey approach.

As current consumer expectations rise and stakeholder demands change, companies must explore new production and employee landscapes. In order to keep pace, Asurion turned to a startup model.

The old way

Many large businesses are bogged down with the heft of long-term technology product development: project managers buried deep in the minutiae, contributors siloed by department, and massive requirement documents that inhibit capacity and slow everyone down. Even after months of work, these projects almost always achieve a result that somehow veered away from its initial vision. Opportunity costs are often lost as the focus remains on process, not outcome.

Journey Teams at Asurion

At Asurion, product development is driven by collaboration, not compartmentalization. We shook up its conventional business model by deploying the Journeys Team model. Instead of using separate “product” and “IT” silos, we’ve combined product, design, and technology teams and have empowered them to ask the question “How do we focus on what’s best for the consumer experience?”

Key players of a Journey Team may include:

  • Product Manager: Leads the project by facilitating cooperation between functions
  • User Experience Designer: Assesses the impact on users and designs possible solutions
  • Developer: Designs and programs any software needed for each project
  • Quality Assurance Analyst: Tests the code used for software implementation
  • Content Strategist: Writes user-facing, value-driven content
  • Data Scientist: Applies statistics and machine learning to the ideation phase of each project

We don’t tell our journey teams what to do or how to do it – instead, they innovate and test ideas and are entrusted to make decisions on their own, all with the singular goal of improving consumer experience. The journey teams put together a vision based on a desired outcome, a vision that nails down what is going to work (and what isn’t) to drive improvements in speed, reliability, and efficiency of a product’s delivery.

Better results

Take the claim process as an example. Under previous models, a customer’s claim would pass through various workflows, often with redundant or unnecessary steps that may not have been a great experience for the customer. Under our journey team model, we dedicated product, technology and design leads to focus on an outcome that equates to a positive customer experience. This mentality leads to faster time to market and less waste in resource capacity, and allows our team members the ability to innovate in a rapid fashion. More importantly, the customer has a really positive experience.

The shift has opened up new channels of communication and new ways of interacting across teams, even to the point of how we collocate in our workspace. We have seen a radical change in the quality of our intercommunications because people are developing prototypes, conducting tests and not working off huge requirement documents.

Asurion is building the products, platforms, and systems that help support our partners and deliver an exceptional customer experience. www.Asurion.com