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Solventure creates software for supply chain management, sometimes very technical but always very exciting. While scaling their Product and engineering organization, they needed product skills to formulate direction in their product portfolio. We helped them out by taking up challenges and transferring our knowledge.

Injecting our Product Skills

The Solventure team is built around helping out manufacturing companies optimise their supply chain. From their consultancy perspective, they saw some opportunities for digital products that could help their customers and become an additional revenue model. We helped them make the switch from service to product.

Our Challenge

When Solventure knocked on our door, they were ready for the next step in their product organisation. The team already built several products with several levels of maturity, and they were ready for the next step.

For some products they were looking for product market fit, for others they needed to define a strategy for growth. Because of the complex technical nature of the product and the matching engineering, there was a need for some product knowledge and user-centered design techniques to overcome those hurdles.

The challenge was not only cracking those questions but also transferring the product knowledge to the Solventure team so that future challenges could be tackled better.

Learning by doing

Instead of choosing the typical classroom setting or a consultancy approach, we prefer to get our hands dirty - we dive into these challenges with the Solventure team from start to finish. Meanwhile, we provided hands-on guidance & coaching, making sure we transfer our knowledge to the team.

We started by giving homework first - reading books, surfing the web for fitting models, and collecting everything you already know about the subject. The idea is to run through the process so you can figure it out yourself the next time.

We then prepared the consecutive steps and the workshops. In those, we guided the team to look for the right questions and pointed out where to find the matching answers. In feedback sessions (e.g. retrospectives), we made sure to embed the knowledge gained in the whole team.

So what did we do… Let’s dive into it.

Vision workshops

One of Solventures products - The Solventure connector - has already a Product-Market Fit but wanted to take the next step. In order to get all noses in the same direction of those steps we helped formulate a clear product vision. This vision became the base for the next steps in the development of the product and listed new discovery phases to be set up. Under the impulse of the CTO and inspired by the “Product Vision Sprint” concept, we set up a bunch of workshops crammed within one week. The result is a validated and supported product vision document that is the base for setting up a roadmap for features and discovery projects, in the coming years.

  • 01 / Vision workshop


    The homework was research. We collected all info about the current state of the market and product and the biggest challenges connected to that.

  • 02 / Vision workshop

    All on board

    We got a variety of people involved - sales, marketing, engineering and the management team.

  • 03 / Vision workshop

    Value map

    We created a user value map to list all the strong points of the current product - things we should keep building on.

  • 04 / Vision workshop


    We formulated a list of "How Might We" questions describing the future challenges in such a way that implies a solution is possible but not any specific ideas.

  • 05 / Vision workshop


    An ideation workshop helped us to transform the formulated problems into actionable ideas and possible futures to explore. We stole a lot of ideas from other sectors here!

  • 06 / Vision workshop

    Vision statement

    Taking the above as input we took the time to write out a vision statement and illuminated it with visuals that represented the product values. (And we were really proud of it)

  • 07 / Vision workshop

    Quality control

    We sent it to the C-level and without further context, we tested how clear the message was. You guessed it, we needed an extra iteration on the text and images before we could call it ready.

  • 08 / Vision workshop


    The result is a validated and supported product vision document that is the base for setting up a roadmap for features and discovery projects, in the coming years.

Smooth Sailing collaborates, provides the right best practice handles and make you live the required design thinking techniques. At the end your team is equipped to better tackle future challenges.

Discovery process

On another product, the Solventure team wanted to investigate the needs around the usage of external data in decision-making. These insights could hint towards the right persona, communication and innovation for reaching that Product-Market Fit. To figure out the possible value of the product we conducted feature discovery by forcing our way into the agenda of CFOs and business unit managers to ask about their decision-making processes.

  • 01 / Step


    Scoping the right angle to approach these busy people was the first thing we did. We went for the use of external data in decision processes.

  • 02 / Step


    We used the "day in a life of" technique to list all possible moments where external data comes into their lives where the product could be valuable.

  • 03 / Step


    Based on these concrete moments in a day and the book "the mom test", we’ve built a discussion guide, and a scenario to figure out if our hypotheses were correct.

  • 04 / Step


    Over the summer we had a very exciting set of pair interviews, balancing the subject knowledge of Solventure with the interviewing techniques of Smooth Sailing.

  • 05 / Step


    From our transcripts we distilled about 100 "How Might We" questions. Those sparked many possible product and service ideas.

  • 06 / Step


    The result of this process was a bunch of different future scenarios for the product and a clear direction on what this product could mean in the life of a CFO. In the meantime, user research and product discovery techniques were firmly exercised.


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