Product Development Pillars

Why product development pillars? The product development pillars provide a shared language and understanding that teams can adapt to their needs and start building a strong community of practice. By creating common ground, the pillars give teams the autonomy to apply processes that work best for them and their context while collaborating with others. “Product development” refers to the full value stream from idea to value generation across all skills and functions. 

The product development pillars - We have defined 6 pillars in three arenas:

ARENA 1: One Team, One Experience

Pillar 1: We are one team

We know that the only way to build successful solutions is for team members from many disciplines to work together throughout the product life cycle. 

In each team, leaders from product management, data, design and engineering bring knowledge about our business, merchants and technology to inform holistic decision-making. Team members from marketing, risk, fraud, DevOps and other disciplines contribute to round out effective collaborations.

Core questions to ask: 

  • Are all relevant functions represented in core meetings (like standups, team retrospectives, priority planning)?

  • Are core decisions made jointly?

  • Are discussions, problem solving and ideation happening across functions?

  • Is there a shared understanding across functions of what your team is trying to achieve and why?

  • Is there a shared understanding of how to work with each other and what is expected?

  • Do you share knowledge across functions? 

    • Is there shared knowledge of core user challenges that need to be tackled?

    • Is there shared knowledge of the market landscape your team is operating in?

    • Is there shared understanding of technical efforts and limitations around your current priorities?

Useful resources: Gibson Biddle DHM framework Prewatch Video Gibson Biddle DHM framework Overview

Pillar 2: We shape one experience

Our hardware and software are the main gateways through which merchants and consumers interact with SumUp. 

Although we develop our products across many tribes and teams, there is only one experience. As people learn one part of the product, they will find other parts familiar and easy to use, no matter what device they're using.

We achieve this by considering the full customer journey, by applying our experience principles and building with Circuit UI and other shared elements. 

Core questions to ask:

  • What parts of your experience are similar to that of other products and services?

  • Is the experience we deliver aligned with the experience we promise?

  • Is your product following the SumUp Experience Principles as well as using and contributing to Circuit UI? 

ARENA 2: Solving the right problems

Pillar 3: We understand people’s needs

We focus on our merchants and consumers, their needs, desired outcomes and what success looks like. 

We ensure these are aligned with our company goals and market drivers, whether building a new product or updating functionality.

Core questions to ask:

  • Do you know your customers’ expectations based on industry trends and competitor offerings? 

  • How do you delight customers today and could your product delight customers even more in the future?

  • Do you know the key pain points and needs of your customers?

  • How do we address these after the table stakes / basics to create differentiation and value for customers?

Useful resources: Cynefin Framework

Pillar 4: We seize the best opportunities

Each squad has a clear value proposition for their products and solutions and understands how they help elevate the company. We understand the market that we are operating in, constantly strive to innovate and know how we will enhance our margin

This way, we identify opportunities, set priorities and create value for our merchants.

Core questions to ask:

  • Which type(s) of innovation will help create hard-to-copy advantages in the market? 

  • Where do you still need to cover the basics and where can you differentiate? 

  • What are the business risks (e.g., fraud) related to the opportunity you choose to follow?

  • What are the compliance requirements? 

Useful resources: 10 Types of Innovation

Arena 3: Delivering a great experience

Pillar 5: We measure, learn and improve

We evaluate solutions early to make sure we’re meeting people’s needs. Based on what we learn, we iterate and improve our products. 

Measurement means more than tracking: Clearly defined KPIs and an always-on, test-and-learn approach yield data that guides us towards informed, confident decisions.

Core questions to ask:

  • What is the business outcome you are trying to achieve with a product?

  • How do you best measure this outcome?

  • Do you know how well you’re achieving this outcome right now, and what do you need to do to achieve it faster or with more impact? 

Pillar 6: We create with care

We strive for quality in every element of our product, from code to copy, and make sure that everything we build slots seamlessly into the one experience.

We take collective ownership of problems and work together across domains to solve them. We build for solidity, accessibility and scalability, and always with an eye on the future. 

Core questions to ask:

  • Is the solution following standard accessibility guidelines?

  • Has a cross functional quality check taken place before launching a solution?

Have you tested different use cases to ensure nothing breaks elsewhere?  Pillars and agility at scaleAgility at scale” is another of SumUp’s Wildly Transformational Fundamentals (WTFs): ideas, practices and frameworks through which we want to build and grow our organization in pursuit of our mission. 

Agility at scale means building a culture where people can make the right decisions and take action, so we can respond quickly, adapt and innovate.

To scale agility, our mindset has to shift from the typical “optimize for efficiency”, which assumes that a company is like a machine that can be manipulated mechanically, to a mindset of “nurturing an organism towards effectiveness” where our company is thought of as a living organism. 

Instead of planning everything and building an organization according to that rigid plan, we grow the organization organically in response to internal and external impulses. 

The Cynefin framework is a sense-making structure that helps us put agility at scale into practice. Depending on the specific context we’re facing, the next best action differs: 

  • Should we apply best practice? 

  • Should we identify which good practice makes sense to implement? 

  • Should we run an experiment? 

  • Should we act quickly?

Similarly, how the product development pillars should be applied depends on the challenge a team is facing. For example, understanding user needs (Pillar 3) could happen through user interviews and co-creation sessions. Or, it could happen through building a prototype and gathering insights. The Pillars do not describe a specific process. They are a set of aspirations that we strive to achieve.  Pillars and SumUp values The SumUp values (We Care, Founders Mentality, Team First) form a general framework for all SumUp employees that help us work together in the best possible way. The pillars focus on the product development lifecycle with the aim of creating a common language for all involved.