“A light bulb moment” Inside Casengo #2


casengo.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/thijs-casengo-product-owner-fail-fast.jpg 7 questions to Casengo’s Product Owner

Prepare for some excitement, folks. So far we’ve talked front-end development with Jaime, delved under the hood with some back-end basics from Naveen and shared our latest product updates with you (yes, back on October 29). Now for the scoop from one of Casengo’s founders, Casengo’s Product Owner: Thijs van der Veen.

Denise: Do describe your role as a product owner. Thijs: Product Owner is a en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development text: scrum methodology) term that simply conveys the buck stops with me. The development of the product and responsibility for its success sits with me. Through collaboration with target customers, actual users and my development team, I set the agenda for what features to include in Casengo and how to implement them. I have my own ideas for the product, but creating something I want may not necessarily be right for the market. An idea needs assessing, prototyping and validating before it finally gets built into the software.

What are you working on right now? We are currently implementing our reporting functionality, case preview capabilities, the integration of call management and enhanced user notifications. All of these elements will improve the workflow and productivity of our users - which is our utmost aim: more happy customers!

What’s on the Casengo product roadmap? The roadmap includes capabilities to help support agents be more responsive: improving notifications of case updates, enhancing the mobile application, enabling collaboration between colleagues, and more social media integration.

What do you like most about being the Product Owner of Casengo? I like brainstorming, coming up with new ideas. The great dev team I have really supports this aspect: team members are constantly contributing concepts for implementing my ideas as well as their own. And then there’s the creative element: I really enjoy the wireframing and design process that goes into prototyping. I always try to go for the very best solution in terms of great design for maximum productivity... but as great product owners tending to be... Listen to your customers, not your competitors.

Where do you want to take Casengo in the future? There is an ongoing goal of making Casengo the ‘smarter customer support app’, a never-ending task. The smarter customer support app can always be smarter, and there is no limit to product improvement if you think innovatively. Outside of our own improvements, we’ll seek to enable integrations with other products to extend responsiveness to our users.

Tell us more about the journey from concept to open beta. Casengo really evolved from a light bulb moment between myself and Floris (van der Veen, Casengo’s other co-founder).
What if we could blend instant messaging and traditional channels such as email into a single timeline? What if we could remove the separation of different support methods? This is the moment when we came up with the concept of hybrid messaging - but then how were we technically going to do this? However, the most difficult aspect of the entire journey has been finding the balance between our vision and the customer’s wants.

Any advice for any would-be Product Owners? Think out of the box but always validate your assumptions with the user. Better fail fast :)