Automated Indices Pod - 2022 Product Roadmap

Title: Automated Indices Pod - 2022 Product Roadmap & Strategy Framework
Author: @seb
Reviewed: @afromac
Created: 4 January 2022

Simple Summary

To create successful products that our customers love, Index Coop will need to develop a 2022 product roadmap that takes into account customer demand and market considerations. The first step in this exercise consists of creating a flexible framework that allows us to have a holistic view of the investment opportunities across crypto. This post seeks to formulate a framework that will guide the Automated Indices Pod (AIP) towards creating a clear product strategy and product roadmap for 2022.

Abstract

We have adopted a first-principles approach to understanding the crypto investment ecosystem. As a first step, we started with a blank slate and insourced a wide set of product ideas across the Coop with a focus on understanding existing DeFi protocols. Next, we identified common themes across a large set of product ideas. We are now in the process of validating key assumptions and stacking them against each other in terms of market opportunity and difficulty in launching. The approach can be summarized in four phases:

  1. Idea Consolidation - Index Coop wide product brainstorming workshop
  2. Initial Research - group ideas into themes and identify key metrics
  3. Validate Key Assumptions - deep dive into the most attractive segments and validate key assumptions
  4. Product Roadmap and Prioritization - stack different product ideas against each other for prioritization and roadmapping

Motivation

While our existing methodology to prioritize product ideas has been successful in evaluating external methodologies a more robust approach is required to create a cohesive product strategy that takes into account all investment opportunities in crypto.

Specification

Phase 1: Idea Consolidation

  • As a first step, AIP held a series of brainstorming workshops to consolidate all potential products we could build
  • Although we have finalized these workshops further ideas may be added as ad hoc items and recurring quarterly workshops may be a valuable exercise to assure we are in touch with the market

Phase 2: Initial Research

  • After consolidating a sufficiently long list of product ideas, we grouped them into themes and product classes in order to determine the market opportunities in each segment
  • The goal of this phase is to conduct initial research ahead of conducting a deep dive to validate key assumptions
  • Initial research on each segment may include identifying TAM, Competition, Problem / Solution
  • Progress of research will be tracked here

Phase 3: Validate Key Assumptions

  • Once a high-level view of each segment is identified a Product Manager is assigned to the most promising product ideas and conducts a deep dive to validate key assumptions across the subset of the criteria in the below matrix
  • Depending on the product idea more advanced product validation exercises may be required including customer interviews and surveys

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria Description
Trading Strategy Traction TVL, average trading volume, APR
Target Market Size Does the product cater to a large market from a potential AUM standpoint? Is it large now or in future? Stable or high growth?
Problem or Need Is the problem / need real? Is this a fad or short term trend? Is there a sustainable pain, challenge, need?
Solution Is the proposed solution Better, Faster, Cheaper? Brand? Quality? Efficient? Convenient? Unique? Value Prop?
Methodologist Industry knowledge, unique skills, leadership, key relationships, prior successes and/or failures
Branding Partner Is there a branding partner identified? # of Twitter followers, # of Discord followers, # of Youtube followers
Competition vs. Competitive Advantages Direct vs. indirect? Barriers to entry? Differentiation? Simpler alternative exists? Future obsolescence? Unfair or sustainable advantage?
Product Economics Cost of maintaining a product? On Ethereum mainnet? Cost & Time to Maintain Customer / Operations? NAV decay
Liquidity Considerations Is there liquidity for the desired tokens?
Technical Integration - IC What is the level of technical implementation required from IC?
Technical Integration - Set What is the level of technical implementation required from SET?

Phase 4: Product Roadmap and Prioritization

  • Once the Product Manager gathers sufficient validation metrics they will showcase their findings to the broader AIP
  • AIP will provide feedback ahead of a possible forum post and force rank the product vs others in the pipeline using the above Modified WTA matrix

Next Steps

  • Currently, we are in the process of completing Phase 3 of this exercise and beginning to consolidate data points across the aforementioned evaluation criteria
  • While this framework aids in creating a process around how to identify the next products to build, a more robust prioritization playbook will be required to scale this exercise
9 Likes

I’d like to take on one of these investigations, who should I speak with?

1 Like

My brain is crumpled. Normally in a product/portfolio road map I would look to see some kind of a “strategic fit” criteria, but I am not sure what the strategies / goals are yet. Perhaps just a place holder in your criteria, or do we assume that if it hits the 11 criteria it would be “strategic”? Crazy example, someone proposes a $memedex token driven off a wallstreetbets algorithm. It could hit high on all criteria, but given the volatility and limited lifespan of pump and dumps, may not hit on the mission of IC due a ridiculous risk factor. My point is NOT to debate the values of a memecoin index, but just use that as an example product that may not fit the IC mission / principles and thus not be strategic. If you don’t like that example, try the $SINDEX - an Index token built on the porn industry tokens, it could score high on all the criteria, but might it not fit the mission / objectives of I.C. (warning: think twice before you google porntoken)

3 Likes

I like where you’re going with this, Shawn.

As I read the post, I think ‘Problem or Need’ addresses strategic fit partially…

But I would like to see it called out specifically.

@SharkButler - yes, you are right the criteria could be co-opted into fitting the need. Or, that criteria could just be replaced with “strategic fit”. Bonus; kind of forces us to get clear on Objectives > Goals > Strategies > and Measures.

1 Like

We’d love that - ping me on discord and we can connect

sebss#2821

This is good feedback guys. Agree once this approach is formalized we will need a criteria that evaluates strategic fit. However it’s not clear to me what are the boundaries of IC strategic fit is today. I see this research exercise as a tool to help us better define our strategy.

3 Likes

You hit my point exactly. Strategy & execution is a point of failure in tradbiz and likely will be in DAOs too. Product development should support the mission/objectives/strategies of the organization and if those are not clear, we should bake “strategy” into the product portfolio decision process (which I think you are) and then start asking “what are our objectives/strategies AIP (each nest) should be building on”. Love it.

3 Likes

Food for thought . . . perhaps we should consider coming up with a scoring rubric to help control individual biases (we all got 'em), something that a larger cross-section of the Coop could contribute to, the sort of thing described in Hubbard’s How to Measure Anything (if anyone has happened to read it :slight_smile: ).

1 Like