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How I learned to appreciate an End-to-end solution through gardening!

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

The concept of an end to end solution really hit me when my offer to help out in the garden was rejected by my wife.


The video has the full story and my learnings from the experience. If you would rather read than watch the video a lightly edited transcript is below.



Every now and then on a Sunday morning, I get fully energized and want to do some work in our garden at home. My favorite task in the garden involves taking a large pair of garden shears, walking on the ledges around the house and trimming plants - especially our bougainvillea.


I love doing it because

  1. It is a fantastic functional workout - improving one's balance, flexibility, coordination, strength and endurance

  2. It makes me feel useful around the house 😎

One day, I suggested to my wife that going forward, I would do all the trimming around the house and that we need not get a gardener for doing that.


I personally thought it was a wonderful idea because I would get to do something that my wife found useful AND get a functional workout into my schedule.

She however vehemently vetoed the suggestion. Me being me, I asked her why she didn’t want me trimming the garden!


She had 3 reasons for vetoing the idea:

  1. I was not very reliable - I would do it only when I felt like it and not necessarily when it needed to be done!

  2. The quality of my work was not as good as that of a gardener. While I would trim the plants, I wouldn’t shape it the way a proper gardener would!

  3. The biggest reason - I wouldn’t do a complete job. While I would trim the plants, I wouldn’t really clean up the trimmings afterwards. So, after I finish trimming, she would need to get someone else to clean up!

How does all this relate to the world of developing products and solutions?

Well, a customer always wants a complete solution. Imagine if a new e-commerce website came up and said, you can buy a product on their website, but you need to take care of the logistics of getting it shipped to yourself. Would you buy from them? You could say that it depends on the product and the deal J But you get the idea J

The concept of the end-to-end solution is something I learned the hard way, back in 2014 or so. I will not bore you with those details here.

The key is really in understanding:

  1. What the customer is trying to achieve,

  2. How the problem you are solving is preventing the customer in achieving that,

  3. How the customer will evaluate your solution in the context of what they are trying to achieve

There are various frameworks that you could use to develop this understanding of the customer such as customer journey maps, jobs to be done and so on. But at the core of all of that is empathising with your customer, your user and understanding what they want to achieve.

Once you find out the end-to-end solution that the customer is expecting, and you find it to be too huge, look to the following 2 things for inspiration:

  1. The Zappos MVP

  2. A non-linear approach for your MVP by partnering with existing players to offer a complete solution

In the gardening context, what my wife was trying to achieve was a clean garden – which meant trimmed plans and clean grounds. She might have considered my suggestion, if I offered to call someone to clean up the trimmings after my functional workout in the garden.

 

If you are working on a new product and want to get an expert view to make sure you are not missing out on anything critical ...


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