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Railsware at ITEM Dnipro 2018: Overview

The seventh season of ITEM conferences has just closed with another great event, which gathered around 800 participants on October 14-15, 2018 in Dnipro, Ukraine. For both business and technical directions, ITEM continued to focus on the product – and user-centric approaches as the hottest topics in the evolution and advancement of the Ukrainian IT industry.

Railsware took an active part in the previous event held in March 2018 in Kyiv, and being inspired by its noteworthy results, we’ve already begun preparation for the next conference. Read our overview of ITEM Kyiv 2018 to get more details.

Sharing product management expertise with the community

Railsware has moved from an outsourcing company model to a product studio, from delivering resources to providing value. Throughout this journey, we have gained a solid product management expertise, and now we are eagerly sharing this knowledge with the community.

At ITEM 2018 Dnipro Anastasia Avramenko, community manager at Railsware, moderated the Business Development & Sales track centered on the ways for IT companies to be competitive in the international software development market.

Wrapping up all the discussions, Sergey Korolev, managing director at Railsware, delivered a presentation named “Outsourcing is a dead-end. Strategic steps on how to evolve your business model”. Sergey ran a thorough analysis of why the outsourcing model won’t work in the long run. He explained why selling just resources and basic services make companies, in the same way as economies, on a large scale, lose profitable opportunities.

Sergey described Railsware’s experience and vision of the alternative ways of generating revenue for service companies: building great products, from solutions for customers to our own releases. It’s not advice to immediately switch from “pure” outsourcing to the product company model but rather a strategy, a way exactly how a service company can be different. Software consultancy compared with the outsourcing model generates a competitive value proposition, creating solutions which really satisfy customer needs instead of just solving sets of predefined tasks. Product studio, as the next step in business model evolution, expands the company’s product management expertise, from building solutions for clients to crafting its own products.

For more details, view the full presentation:

Promoting the lean thinking concept

In our work, we use several product management methodologies, and our preferences in choosing tools are mostly based on the Lean approach.

Lean canvas* has proved itself as an effective method of validating business ideas. Aiming at educating the local community and promoting value-added approaches, we offered ITEM participants to leverage their skills of testing product ideas. We called it “Lean canvas game”, which included several steps:

  1. Learn or flash back. Watch our educational videos on the lean canvas approach and value proposition canvas***, which is a lean business model canvas** extract. Value proposition canvas was a primary focus of our game.
  2. Check. Review the example of completing value proposition canvas template. To provide comprehensive explanations, we used Uber as a service everyone is acquainted with, and analyzed its value proposition for passengers.
  3. Play. Then we had the audience fill in the value proposition canvas for Uber as a service for drivers, adding their own ideas to the corresponding template blocks:
  • Jobs-to-be-done
  • Pains
  • Gains
  • Products/services
  • Pain relievers
  • Gain creators.

By the end of the conference, our product management team had inspected the submitted answers and chosen winners who performed the most versatile analysis. We were delighted to see the high level of interest and elaboration by reaching 10% of engagement among the engaged audience and presented several sets of books for our savvy players. Those included:

  1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  2. Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy by Cindy Alvarez
  3. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.
Railsware lean canvas game winner at ITEM 2018 Dnipro

To get a thorough understanding of how to apply these lean approaches to validate your business ideas, read our recent articles on lean canvas tool and value proposition canvas.

We are always happy to share our knowledge, so feel free to discuss your product related questions and ideas with us.

The three Es of ITEM conference: exposure, education, exchange

With all the variety of events and networking opportunities, conferences remain a great place for exchanging ideas, meeting like-minded people, learning new trends and techniques as well as getting inspiration to start something new.

ITEM had it all and we were excited to play an active role in this great international event, and also we want to thank everyone whom we met and communicated with. We are looking forward to the new opportunities for developing and growing product engineering community in Ukraine.

* Lean Canvas was designed by Ash Maurya, based on the Business Model Canvas designed by Alex Osterwalder, Strategyzer.com, licensed under CC BY SA 3.0.

** Business Model Canvas is designed by Alex Osterwalder, Strategyzer.com, licensed under CC BY SA 3.0.

*** Value Proposition Canvas is designed by Alex Osterwalder, Strategyzer.com.