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Digital Product Development Framework With The ADAPT Methodology®

Digital Product Development Framework With The ADAPT Methodology®

ADAPT Methodology® is a unique Digital Product Development framework to change traditional project-centric companies toward product-led companies!

Society changed and leaders need support in the way how they lead and design their digital product organizations, that is the reason why the ADAPT Methodology® was created, but now let’s get a deep dive into the ADAPT Methodology®.

If there’s one lesson to be learned from the Covid-19 business landscape it’s that those organizations which had hitherto failed to adapt to the digital era were unquestionably more at risk of being outmaneuvered by more nimble competitors.

Many long-established traditional businesses, both large and small, that relied predominantly on a bricks-and-mortar presence, footfall, and face-to-face transactions, didn’t make the ride out of the storm so well.

Such failures are a tragedy and represent huge losses to the well-being of developed world economies, let alone the heartache and anxiety caused to the many thousands of individuals employed by those businesses.

Prior to the pandemic, I was already concerned that too many businesses, founded on the principles of industrial-age models, were ill-prepared to withstand the onset of the digital era. Unless they embrace the urgent need to adapt their operation, many more businesses will die.

Unless that is, executive leaders are willing to adopt a Digital Product Development Framework, beginning with a well-articulated digital agenda and a readiness assessment. This will then enable them to reimagine their organization's business processes, following a roadmap to create unique digital services and product propositions.

The ADAPT Methodology®, crafted meticulously by Luis Gonçalves, emerges as a beacon for organizations navigating through the complexities of digital product development and transformation.

The Digital Product Development Framework In Action

The journey through digital transformation is punctuated with challenges related to changing market dynamics, evolving customer behaviors, and technological advancements. The ADAPT Methodology® serves as a compass, guiding businesses through these challenges by providing a structured framework that addresses every facet of an organization, from strategy formulation to product development and organizational transformation.

In the realm of digital product development, the ADAPT Methodology® is not merely theoretical; it’s a practical guide that has been meticulously crafted to address real-world challenges and scenarios.

The methodology acknowledges the paradigm shift in customer behaviors, especially in the digital era, where customers are empowered, informed, and have a plethora of options at their fingertips. It emphasizes not just reaching out to customers but doing so in a manner that is relevant, engaging, and value-driven.

Leaders, navigating through the digital era, find a reliable ally in the ADAPT Methodology®. It provides a structured, yet flexible framework that guides leaders through the complexities of digital product development, ensuring that organizations are not merely surviving but thriving amidst the dynamic digital landscape.

It provides leaders with the tools, strategies, and insights needed to craft organizations that are customer-centric, agile, and robustly aligned with the digital era.

Our Digital Product Development Framework is the subject of my latest book Adapt which outlines an iterative process based on the five pillars of my ADAPT Methodology™

  1. Approach: how to acquire new customers in the digital era.
  2. Data: learning how to utilize your data to optimize your business and customer experience.
  3. Agility: the need to build a company that can react and respond quickly to changes in the market.
  4. Product: developing and implementing a digital product strategy.
  5. Transformation: why and how the entire organization needs to change so that it can competitively thrive in the digital era.

This Digital Product Development Framework seeks to provoke thought and raise awareness of the measures that can then be implemented. It’s essential that executive leaders must be willing to adopt its principles and to actively drive that transformation.

Change is not always welcome and can be difficult to implement under the best of circumstances. However, we all need to learn the lessons of Covid-19; wishing we had been better prepared in the first place masks the real issues created by the onset of the digital era.

Whilst hindsight is great, it’s meaningless unless change happens as a result. Having the foresight to adapt to the digital era, therefore, has never been more crucial.

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APPROACH - Pillar 1 From The Digital Product Development Framework

The digital era has revolutionized and disrupted how customers prefer to engage and purchase from businesses with very few exceptions. Even before the world was turned upside down by Covid-19, customer behaviors were shifting towards purchasing goods and services via online platforms and are far less loyal than they were 30 years ago.

This means that companies need to understand their consumers better to promote loyalty and they also need to acknowledge that the digital era drive increasingly drives sales. Understanding the impact of both is vital, as is the awareness that the traditional mass marketing model (large-scale print and broadcast advertising) no longer exists.

Standing out in the crowd has never been more important, nor has the customer been in possession of more knowledge about the product they wish to buy. The good news is that customers are still there, but they need to be approached in a different way.

Traditional mass marketing relies on interrupting them without an invitation to engage, running the risk of alienation or the message being ignored. The digital era has empowered customers to become more curious and savvy.

They know what they want and they’ll carry out their own research in order to inform their purchasing decisions.

This needs to be your immediate focus when deciding how to approach them because this will offer you two key valuable insights going forward:

  • If your products and services are in alignment with customers’ evolving behaviors.
  • How to create relevant products and services that will connect with your customers.

No matter if yours is a multinational or a sole trading concern, the digital era impacts businesses of all sizes. Lose sight of that and customers will lose sight of you.

DATA - Pillar 2 From The Digital Product Development Framework

As complex as it might first appear, it’s not a prerequisite for a business leader to become an expert in Big Data and analytics. It is necessary, however, to become more aware of the enormous potential that data offers and how it can affect strategic decision-making.

In today’s digital environment, data is more than an aggregated accounting exercise, it’s a truly valuable commodity, more valuable than oil. Understanding how you can deepen your relationship with data will greatly enhance your business intelligence since it’s one of the most important assets any business owns.

Achieving deeper levels of intelligence of evolving employee, operations, and customer data allows a business to leverage it and convert that into revenue and profit. However, amassing silos of raw data (supply chains, sales, turnover, and profit) serves no useful purpose as it only skims the surface of what data can really do for a business.

Only when an organization understands how to integrate all of this data across all departments is when the health of the business can be measured. A more holistic approach to data then better informs the strategic decision process of the C-Suite executives. Those decisions are then based on valuable insights gained from customer behavior which informs the business how and when it can deliver by knowing:

  • Where they are.
  • What they want.
  • When they want.

To achieve this 360-degree perspective, the three key areas of data I identify within my methodology are:

  • Business process data that sit at the center of your daily ops.
  • Product, or service, data that deliver the business’ core value proposition.
  • Customer data that provides insights into building a more complete customer base picture.

Once a cohesive data strategy is implemented, leaders are then free to take their businesses to a new and completely different level. Love it or loathe it, data is one of the most crucial pillars for a business if it’s to survive and thrive in the digital era.

AGILITY - Pillar 3 From The Digital Product Development Framework

The marketplace is continually evolving, which is why executive leaders need to consider introducing agility to meet conditions as they change.

The good news is that it’s not too late to embrace and discover how to apply agility to create a future-proof business. This needs to be part of a graduated shift in mindset, away from setting annual goals as per more traditional Waterfall practice where the risks are high (and costly) should a new product or service fail on release to the market.

Adopting agile on the other hand offers far greater flexibility and variability whereby a business can invest time, money, and resources into iteratively creating products that will begin earning revenue, and more quickly. That's why I urge all executive leaders to rethink it as a strategy because Waterfall is no longer relevant, given that more agile competitors are reading and responding to evolving market conditions.

The mistake many executive leaders make is viewing agile as a process that should be delegated to a consultant expert for the IT department. However, Agility must be applied cross-functionally, not just at the team level. Left within a departmental silo (as often is the case) eventually it will suffocate.

Agile has the potential to reduce risk, accelerate value delivery, and maximize opportunities for the business to react and respond quickly. Its success will rely on the executive leader embedding themselves within the whole agile process from inception, or else the whole process will be ineffective.

For a successful executive leader to stand out in the digital marketplace, they must understand the need to follow three key steps:

  1. Awareness
  2. Training
  3. Implementation

Failure to follow these three basic steps will lead to a failure of proper implementation and the business will ultimately suffer as the result of the disconnect between the executive leadership (because it doesn’t implement agile through example), middle management, and the product teams working on the front line.

For an organization to change, its leaders must change, too. Leaders cannot create the organization’s agile strategy if they’re not prepared to apply agile to the way they work themselves and be fully involved with its implementation. It requires a top-down cultural and operational change that permeates throughout the whole organization.

Failure to do so will only extenuate any existing disconnects and within a matter of time, the organization will fatally malfunction, as I have seen happen on many occasions. It’s also the only solution if a business wants to continue fulfilling its vision, mission, and values in its bid to serve its customers in the digital age.

PRODUCT - Pillar 4 From The Digital Product Development Framework

Keeping products alive in the digital era is of paramount importance if they are to be relevant to exist and new customers. Many traditional businesses remain stuck in a project mindset and ultimately, many of those projects die following a long drawn-out, and costly period, which I call the “urgency paradox”.

However, rethinking our relationship with the product, and learning how to adapt it iteratively via incremental releases into the market, will shift the executive leader’s focus away from projects to products. That will greatly enhance the way in which products, as well as the business, relates to customers.

Agility provides the tools to rethink the product portfolio with maximum flexibility, from strategy through to delivery. The problem for many businesses, including traditional ones is understanding clearly what happens before delivery. How do they decide what to deliver, when, and at what cost?

The paradigm shift, from project to product needs to be part of every executive’s thinking so that they are more focused on:

  • What products does the business intend to deliver?
  • How can the business better deliver those products?

This paradigm shift in thinking means that every product team should be viewed as a value stream and should behave as if it were a start-up, continuously scanning the market and trends and evolving its business model by using discovery as its foundation.

The product aims to continuously solve customers’ problems and create real value for them. It also offers the opportunity to fail fast and learn from the feedback without losing momentum. Failure is an integral pathway to the ROI.

TRANSFORMATION - Pillar 5 From The Digital Product Development Framework

Many start-ups still believe they’re modern and fit for the digital age when, in fact, their organizational structures are founded on building blocks laid down 100 years ago.

The final pillar is dedicated to transforming your entire business into a modern organization, one that’s optimized for the digital era. This requires a deeper dive into the heart of the organization itself into areas where transformation is most needed in order to re-shape it, fit for the digital era.

If you want to take a deeper dive into this pillar you can download my book Organisational Mastery which describes this topic in maximum detail.

With that in mind, I’ve identified five key areas that enable transformation:

  1. Translating strategy into operations - total clarity on where a business wants to be within the next five years. I introduce practices such as working with Agile Portfolio Management and OKRs in which ideas, visions, or objectives are generated.
  2. Reducing time to market – businesses that optimize for efficiency are also optimized for both speed and value delivery for their customers. By committing to properly implementing OKRs in respect of product development and delivery, the customer remains the central focus of what the business wants to achieve for the customer, and how to meet their needs and improve customer satisfaction.
  3. Continuous improvement – change can only happen if team members are allowed to collaborate in problem-solving, thus co-creating change. It can not be forced upon them. Executives must be at the heart of this by creating a direct coalition with and listening to their front-line operators that hold the deep operational knowledge and skills to co-create a solution and drive continuous improvement.
  4. Knowledge sharing – it has the power to transform through implementing informal communities of practice and to allow the whole organization to benefit where the outcomes are arrived at via quality-driven solutions discovered through collective knowledge sharing of ideas. More significantly, it reduces decision-making delays because teams are no longer dependent on the top-level authorization. The four levels of knowledge sharing I recommend implementing are:
  • Team – sharing with direct team colleagues.
  • Product – team sharing with other teams inside of the same product.
  • Organizational –sharing with cross-product teams best practices, anecdotes, problems, and solutions.
  • External – attending outside events/conferences/meetups to exchange learning, problems, and solutions, with opportunities to recruit.
  1. Innovation – the risk in ignoring innovation is that products can become obsolete and irrelevant, and as a result, market share is lost to disruptors and competitors. Committing space, energy, time, and resources to innovation is, therefore, essential. Too much, haphazard innovative thinking can lead to a backlog of ideas that never get to see the light of day. The solution is to allocate one week at the end of each quarterly cycle in which new ideas are tested and validated. Then, identify the one potential revenue-generating idea that really stands out above the rest and is worth pursuing. That idea is then incorporated into the portfolio management at the beginning of the next quarterly cycle along with its own OKRs, including the financials. This creates a cadence of planning that integrates innovation in complete alignment with the quarterly and overall business strategy. Products are then released into the market quickly, adapted to feedback and generate revenue, faster.

Essential Elements to Elevate Your Digital Product Development Journey

A Digital Product Development Framework for Sustainable Digital Product Development

The ADAPT Methodology® doesn’t merely serve as a guide for navigating the present digital landscape but also acts as a sustainable framework for continuous evolution in digital product development.

It acknowledges the transient nature of digital trends and provides a structured approach that allows businesses to not only adapt to current trends but also to anticipate and prepare for future shifts in the digital landscape. The methodology ensures that businesses are not reactive but proactively aligned with emerging digital trends, ensuring sustained relevance and competitiveness.

Customer-Centricity in the Digital Product Development Journey

In the journey of digital product development, the ADAPT Methodology® places a significant emphasis on customer-centricity. It recognizes the empowered nature of modern customers and advocates for a development approach that is deeply rooted in understanding and addressing customer needs. From product strategy formulation to data utilization, the methodology ensures that the customer is at the core of all strategic and operational endeavors, ensuring that products are not only aligned with current customer needs but are also capable of evolving with changing customer behaviors and preferences.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is not a mere concept within the ADAPT Methodology®;  it is integral to its philosophy. The methodology recognizes the vitality of continuous improvement in ensuring that businesses are not only aligned with the current digital era but are also evolving to meet the demands of the future. It provides structured pathways for embedding continuous improvement within organizational processes, ensuring that businesses are always at the forefront of digital product development.

Organizational Culture

The ADAPT Methodology® also delves into the nuances of organizational culture in the context of digital product development. It recognizes that technological and strategic shifts need to be complemented by a conducive organizational culture that fosters innovation, agility, and customer-centricity. The methodology provides insights and strategies for cultivating an organizational culture that supports and enhances the digital product development journey, ensuring that the organizational culture is in harmony with strategic and operational endeavors.

Bridging Strategy and Execution in Digital Product Development

The ADAPT Methodology® serves as a bridge between strategic formulation and execution in the realm of digital product development. It ensures that strategies are not formulated in isolation but are deeply intertwined with execution, ensuring that strategic endeavors are translated into tangible outcomes. The methodology ensures that strategic insights are not merely theoretical but are embedded within operational processes, ensuring that the strategic vision is realized through practical execution in the digital product development journey.

A Guide for Emerging and Established Businesses

The ADAPT Methodology® is not merely for established businesses but also serves as a guide for emerging businesses navigating through the digital landscape. It provides insights, strategies, and tools that are applicable to businesses at every stage, ensuring that whether a business is an established player or an emerging entity, it is capable of navigating through the digital product development journey with strategic robustness.

Nurturing a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is pivotal in the digital era, and the ADAPT Methodology® fosters a culture where innovation is not sporadic but systematic and embedded in the organizational culture. It provides a framework where innovation is nurtured, encouraged, and integrated into the digital product development process, ensuring that products are not merely aligned with current trends but are also pioneering and shaping future trends in the digital landscape.

Ensuring Organizational Alignment

The ADAPT Methodology® goes beyond product development and ensures that the entire organization is aligned with the digital product development journey. It ensures that from leadership to operational teams, every facet of the organization is in harmony with the digital product development initiatives, ensuring that strategic endeavors are supported and enhanced by organizational alignment.

Empowering Teams in Digital Product Development

The ADAPT Methodology® recognizes the pivotal role of teams in digital product development. It provides a framework that empowers teams, ensuring that they are equipped with the skills, tools, and autonomy needed to navigate through the digital product development journey. The methodology ensures that teams are not merely executors but are active participants in the digital product development process, contributing insights, innovations, and strategic value to the journey.

Ensuring Scalability in Digital Product Development

Scalability is crucial in the digital era, and the ADAPT Methodology® ensures that digital product development is not merely about creating products but is about creating products that are scalable. It provides strategies and insights that ensure that digital products are capable of scaling, ensuring that they are not merely successful in the initial stages but are capable of scaling and sustaining success in the long term.

Embedding Customer Feedback into Product Evolution

Customer feedback is invaluable in the digital product development journey. The ADAPT Methodology® ensures that customer feedback is not merely collected but is embedded into the product evolution process, ensuring that products are continuously refined, enhanced, and aligned with customer needs, expectations, and experiences.

Enhancing Organizational Agility

Organizational agility is pivotal in the dynamic digital era, and the ADAPT Methodology® ensures that organizations are not merely agile but are continuously enhancing their agility. It provides strategies and tools to enhance organizational agility, ensuring that organizations are capable of navigating through the dynamic, complex, and ever-evolving digital landscape with nimbleness and strategic foresight.

Navigating Through Digital Disruptions

Navigating through digital disruptions requires strategic foresight and agility, and the ADAPT Methodology® provides a robust framework that enables organizations to navigate through digital disruptions effectively. It ensures that organizations are not merely reactive to disruptions but are proactively shaping their strategies and products to navigate through disruptions with strategic agility and resilience.

Enhancing Collaboration in Digital Product Teams

Collaboration is pivotal in the development of digital products, and the ADAPT Methodology® fosters a culture where collaboration is celebrated and facilitated. It provides tools and strategies to enhance collaboration within digital product teams, ensuring that products are developed through collective insights, skills, and expertise, thereby enhancing their quality and impact.

Ensuring the Scalability of Digital Products

Ensuring that digital products are scalable is crucial in the dynamic digital landscape, and the ADAPT Methodology® provides a framework that ensures that digital products are not merely developed but are scalable. It ensures that products are crafted with a keen awareness of future growth, changes, and evolutions, ensuring that they are scalable and adaptable to future needs and challenges.

Technical Excellence – The Bedrock of Superior Digital Products

Technical Excellence, within the ADAPT Methodology®, is heralded as the foundational bedrock upon which superior, sustainable, and scalable digital products are built. Technical Excellence ensures that digital products are not just participants in the digital era but are pioneers, continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible and crafting digital experiences that are truly exceptional.

Product Organizations Around Product Value Streams

In the realm of the ADAPT Methodology®, structuring product organizations around product value streams emerges as a pivotal strategy, ensuring that the organizational structure is intrinsically aligned with the value delivery to customers. This approach transcends traditional organizational silos, fostering a holistic, integrated, and customer-centric organizational structure.


Navigating through the multifaceted realm of digital transformation, the ADAPT Methodology® stands out as a comprehensive Digital Product Development Framework. This framework, meticulously crafted by Luis Gonçalves, serves as a robust guide for leaders and organizations, ensuring a structured and strategic approach to building digital product companies.

The methodology, while deeply rooted in the principles of the Digital Product Development Framework, emphasizes the pivotal role of customer-centricity, innovation, and organizational agility in the digital product development journey.

It not only aligns organizations with the current digital trends but also fortifies them to proactively anticipate and prepare for future digital shifts, thereby ensuring sustained relevance and competitiveness in the digital era.

In the Digital Product Development Framework presented by the ADAPT Methodology®, leaders find a reliable ally that ensures their digital product development initiatives are not only scalable and sustainable but also resilient in navigating through the complexities and disruptions of the digital landscape.

By embedding principles such as continuous improvement and organizational alignment, this framework ensures that organizations are not merely adaptive but are also thriving amidst the dynamic digital landscape, thereby solidifying their stance in the competitive market.

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