Financial services innovators hear it again and again: iterate on your projects, and launch early and often. Test your product or program several times in real situations and with real people to work out the kinks, streamline the processes, and make sure the initial findings support your underlying hypotheses. 

PayGoal, a financial service being developed by Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners offers an example of a productive iterative process, demonstrating that iteration may not easy, but it is necessary for success. To learn from their customers early in the design process Neighborhood Trust has created an “alpha” version of PayGoal. The alpha version mimics what will ultimately be a mobile experience and replaces it with an in-person experience with a Neighborhood Trust Financial Advisor. The initial data and client feedback will be used to inform the build-out of the more advanced version of PayGoal in the first half of 2015.

“We chose to pursue a route that enables us to interact with customers faster so we can start learning as soon as possible,” said Eric Cantor, Vice President of Product Development at Neighborhood Trust.

“Building the tech is very fun, sexy but it can draw you in for months. The essential part is to understand the client’s needs and figure out how to address them. That is the real trick, and it has to be thoroughly explored upfront and regularly revisited if the project is to succeed,” Cantor said.

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