Product Users: The Lifecycle For Platform Building
Oscar Health Product Lead on Understanding Product Users (Part 3)
For ecosystem platform building, after forming the hypothesis we move into discovery. This means finding out what we need to know to refine our hypothesis. Some of our use cases for product users at Oscar include:
- Build selective networks
- Help members find the right doctors
- Manage discharge planning
- Request a telemedicine visit
- Service providers
- File with regulators
- Authorize treatment for Oscar members
- Pay claims
Most importantly, you need to map out the complete user experience. This means understanding your user, the channels they use, the questions they have and the touchpoints they touch. In this regard, platform building is very similar to building a user application, but instead of users, you have data.
For the data your platform owns, what are its touchpoints? Who are the users that use the information? How do they use the data, and what actions do they take with it? From there you build out the ecosystem to include all the players in the space.
The next step is to test your hypothesis with different users. You can accomplish this with prototypes. How do users access, consume and action the data? Watch them click, swipe, read and navigate. Where are they consuming data? Where are they confused? For platform building prototypes, you can use Google Sheets, Splunk dashboards and Periscope dashboards. The goal is to present users with an information set and a way of categorizing it. Then you observe how they use it.
There are also users responsible for managing and editing the data, and they need internal tools. Are they getting all the info they need? Do they understand the implications of any changes they make? Does data flow make sense to them? It’s a constant cycle of observation, refining and iteration.
Define & Validate
Once the prototype phase is completed, you enter the define and validate stage of platform building, which includes:
- Identify patterns and themes
- Define objects and relationships
- Define terms
For example, we noticed a lot of users asked about providers and their bios. From there, we considered our providers and their attributes which sometimes change (accepting new patients) and sometimes don’t (the school that they attended). In other cases, we had to create new objects – such as contracts with doctors.
When it comes to prioritization, it’s like prioritizing app features. You can use metrics or weights to prioritize things you build. Finally, when you define anything new – make sure your organization understands things clearly. For instance, on the concept of a physician contract, we educate, own a dictionary around the concept and make sure everything is shared.
When launch time comes we test and communicate everything. For platform building, there’s a lot more you must keep in sync. You have to consider more users and greater diversity of context. Also, lots of operational users will be involved that need to consume new information, action it and use it in an effective way.