“Hey Ari, Any chance you're low on projects right now? If not, no worries at all. Just wanted to check before reaching out to the offshore team” Our new PM messaged me one day.
After checking with other PMs I am working with, I replied:
“I think I do have some bandwidth. Let's talk about your project when you're free.”
It turned out that he was recently planning for a new property-related product. It is a one-stack solution for both individual landlords and tenants to deal with the leasing & rental issues(including application, rent payment, maintenance service, deposit management..) online.
He decides to start with the landlord role and mobile phone will be the first platform.
Requirements - First Talk
We scheduled our first meeting shortly after a brief talk.
He could not wait to open his Balsamiq sketch and show it to me.
“This is how it works”
“Let's slow down for a minute, what do you know about the users? What do you expect the user to achieve here? What are the needs you want to satisfy in this application?"
It seemed that he had not researched on his user group but he got some thought about the basic requirements. He began to talk and we sorted out the primary needs roughly:
Registration - The landlord can self-register to the platform by providing at least basic information.
Add property/Unit - The landlord should be able to add apartments & Unit to his account.
Manage properties - The landlord will be able to view the status of all his properties & Units and the tenants who are occupying those units. And of course, the Landlord can perform some actions on his properties.
Manage deposit - The landlord will be able to withdraw money from the deposit for various purposes.
Application Approval - The landlord will be able to view the application submitted by renters and handle the proving process within the application.
Statistics - The landlord will be able to view the statistic data of his property and profit.
"Those are very general and rough, but a good starting point. Let's study our landlords and talk to the boss, and then narrow the stories down." I summarized.
There is a markable difference between a FULL-TIME landlord and a PART-TIME landlord. Landlord's behavior, schedule, and tasks will vary dramatically depending on the scope of their tenants. After did some research and informal interviews(conversation), I made 2 personas representing 2 typical user groups.
We easily extracted pain points from the research:
- Monitoring and managing the monthly rent income in a straightforward way.
- Making the leasing process more organized and efficient.
- Improving the communication with tenants.
- Reaching out to quality tenants
Our scope does not cover the fourth point for now but we'll optimize the experience of other three. They map to:
Manage properties and Statistics
And registration, add property managing deposit are all basic features which need to be designed along the way.
As a result, for each task, I list all the steps and the input field, displayed information, available actions for each step:
After rounds of editing, the list is validated by my PM and our interviewees.
Now it is the right time to start designing.